Students in class (illustrative)
Students in class (illustrative)iStock

School principals are working hard to ensure that schools remain open, but approximately 264,000 educational staff are missing, Israel Hayom reported. Some of these staff members are ill, others are in quarantine, and still others are forced to remain at home in order to assist a sick family member.

Meanwhile, the Education Ministry estimates that 90% of students are not in quarantine - but schools are still empty.

As of Sunday there were approximately 14,000 school staff members who were sick, creating a number of problems and preventing some frameworks from operating.

When a staff member turns up positive for coronavirus, he or she puts most of the class into quarantine, resulting in a principal who has less teachers on the one hand but students who are exempt from quarantine and still need to learn in class on the other hand. At the same time, those students not exempt from quarantine are required to learn remotely.

In addition, an unknown number of school staff members remain at home to care for other family members - but are still considered to be present in the system, since they themselves are not ill or in quarantine.

Teachers unions fought to allow staff to be first in line for vaccines, and Teachers Union chair Ron Erez called for teachers to be added to the list of those allowed to receive a fourth dose of a vaccine. Indeed, 80% of educational staff are exempt from quarantine, either due to recent infection or due to recent vaccination.

The other 20%, however, represent a not-insignificant approximately 50,000 teachers, who are unvaccinated and when a student turns up positive or they are exposed to a coronavirus-positive colleague, must quarantine for seven days.

On Sunday, a total of 4,354 education staff were in quarantine.

One mother from the Sharon region told Israel Hayom: "Our children are paying the price of those who do not want to get vaccinated. This is the third time already that the assistant has been sent into quarantine, and we are at a loss. On the one hand they are not willing to remove her from her position, on the other hand, they cannot provide routine in the preschool."

Dorit Hazan, a preschool teacher and chairwoman of the Preschool Teachers Educate organization, told Israel Hayom, "Unfortunately, there is not enough staff to open the preschools. The number of preschool teachers and assistants who are in quarantine or who have contracted coronavirus increases each day, and many preschools are closed because of this."