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

Education Minister Yifat Shasha-Biton (New Hope) is pushing to cancel quarantine for unvaccinated students who are exposed to COVID-19, and instead allow them to attend school if they test negative on a single antigen test.

This would allow students to return to school the same day they were informed of the exposure. According to Israel Hayom, the proposal is supported by both of Israel's teachers' unions, due to the promise that whatever rules are applied to students will apply to teachers as well.

In other words, if the proposal passes, teachers and assistants who are unvaccinated will be allowed to return to schools without quarantining, on the basis of a single negative antigen test.

If so, the question arises: How will the requirement that unvaccinated adults quarantine be enforced for the rest of the population, in a way which will not be discriminatory?

On the other hand, Israel Hayom also noted that the plan is not expected to go into effect immediately, since Israel is currently in the midst of a wave of infections. Instead, the Health Ministry is aiming to delay the start of the plan until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, 44% of Israels schoolchildren are exempt from quarantine, due to recent vaccination or recovery. According to Israel Hayom, on Wednesday there were 146,000 students and 22,000 teachers with active cases of COVID-19, and each day another 32,000 students and teachers are diagnosed with the virus, and the peak is still ahead of us. All of these individuals will be exempt from quarantine once they recover.

Israel Hayom quoted Professor Zachi Grossman, chairman of the Israel Pediatric Association, as saying, "The most significant parameter is PIMS in children, since in Israel there are less pediatric hospitalizations than in the world, because of good healthcare in the community. We have tried to learn what the characteristics are in Britain and in the US. As of now, there is no rise there in the incidence of PIMS, but we will examine this in the coming week."

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