On Tuesday, millions of coronavirus antigen testing kits arrived in the country of Israel that is to be used for putting a plan related to schoolchildren in action. The rapid testing kits will be used for reducing the number of schoolchildren who are required to quarantine at home. The Health Ministry Control Center bought the 2.5 million testing kits on the instructions of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and they will be utilized in the Green Classroom plan. A full launch of this plan had been scheduled for the start of the week but had been delayed due to a shortage of testing kits.
As per a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, the testing kits will be used on schoolchildren for implementing the green classroom plan and allow the students, parents, and Israeli economy to continue their routine. On Wednesday, a further 4.7 million testing kits were scheduled to arrive. Bennett said that the government was doing everything for keeping the education system functioning, the economy running and for maintaining a routine life. He said that it was possible to do so with the millions of testing kits they are bringing into the country.
The premier said that they would be able to defeat the Delta variant of the coronavirus with close, correct, and flexible management. Last week, the Health Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office had said that the new rules for self-isolation of schoolchildren would be put into effect from Sunday in cities that have low morbidity rates, otherwise referred to as ‘green cities’. However, the Education Ministry had announced on Saturday that they were going to slow down the rollout and would implement the plan slowly over the country because of concerns about a shortage of testing kits.
As per the new rules, students who are exposed to someone with coronavirus will be permitted to return to school after taking a PCR test and getting a negative result. They will then be required to take rapid antigen tests daily for a week, after which they will take a PCR once more and if negative, they will be cleared. This quarantine exemption will only be applicable for attendance in schools. The program cannot be used for exemption from general quarantine and children will not be allowed to attend afterschool activities.
However, earlier this week, the national coronavirus czar, Salman Zarka said that if the pilot Green Classroom program proves to be successful, the students may be permitted to attend out-of-school activities as well. Zarka also added that officials were hoping to expand this program to include kindergartens too. But, it hasn’t been clarified if students will have to take the rapid antigen tests at home or in school.
It also doesn’t clarify if this will be applicable in case students are exposed to coronavirus carriers in school, or elsewhere. The government statement also doesn’t disclose how a city will be declared ‘green’ to be eligible for this program. The measures for morbidity are different for every community as per the Health Ministry. They give a separate rating to schools and an overall rating as well and the two don’t always turn out to be same.