Hundreds of preschool teachers decided to cancel classes on Friday in cities throughout Israel, in protest against a decision to leave preschools open amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to Maariv. Staff at special education schools and at-risk youth centers are worried as well.
On Thursday, Netanyahu announced that schools and universities would be shut down until at least after the Passover holiday, excluding preschools and special education and at-risk-youth centers.
Army Radio published a recording sent to teachers in Tel Aviv telling them to call in sick at 7 a.m. after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that preschools would remain open while schools around the country were closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
"Dear preschool teachers, we will not agree to allow teachers to remain exposed to the danger of infection," wrote Secretary-General of the teachers' union, Yafa Ben David, on Thursday, according to Maariv. "You cannot discriminate between [preschool teachers] and other teaching staff. We call on the state to learn a different policy, that they close educational institutions completely and through this protect the health of teaching staff and children. We will declare a work dispute on the issue that will allow a strike of the preschools."
The Education Ministry reported that 85% of preschools held classes as normal.
A number of parents with children both in preschools and in primary school decided to keep all their children home.
Educators in the special education system are worried as well about staying open. "They're leaving us behind, our students are the most at risk to be infected," said Rim Hardel, the principal of the special education school in Yarka, on 103FM radio.
"We understand the issue but it can't be at our cost," said Hardel. "Times are different, this isn't a time of war, this isn't some strike, this is a time of epidemic. We sent letters to all the relevant officials, including Education Minister Rafi Peretz and the prime minister, but we haven't received an answer."
Schools for special education and at-risk youth reported full attendance on Friday, according to Channel 12.
The psychometric test, the college acceptance test in Israel, that was set to take place in April has been delayed as well. Bagrut tests, matriculation tests in Israel, may be delayed as well.