Fifteen cities announced Sunday they will resume in-person classes for grades 7-10 on Wednesday in defiance of government orders.
All members of Forum 15 – The Israeli Forum of Self-Government Cities – will partake in the move.
Forum 15 members include Ashdod, Beer Sheva, Giv'atayim, Herzliya, Hadera, Holon, Haifa, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Petah Tikva, Rishon LeZion, Rehovot, Ramat Gan, Ra'anana and Tel Aviv-Jaffa.
The central city of Ramat Hasharon has also announced it will reopen its schools.
According to the latest outline approved by the government, grades 7-10 will not return to schools before March 9.
"In light of the continued absence of these students from schools, and the severe pedagogical, social and psychological damages they must endure because of it, we the mayors of Forum 15 convened an emergency meeting on the issue, where we decided that starting Wednesday, the forum's municipalities will permit principles to allow grades 7-10 to return to class," a statement said.
According to the outline presented by the forum, students will return to school at least twice a week for four hours a day or three times a week for three hours a day.
"It is not necessary to teach all subjects while in school. Some subjects will continue to be taught remotely," the forum said.
"The manner of resuming schooling will be done at the discretion of the principal and in consultation with the municipality, and according to the number of vaccinated teaching staff, the general number of vaccinations in the neighborhoods from which the students come, the size of the school and the number of students. It will be possible to combine learning in the classroom and outdoors," the statement said.
Mayors have stressed that they will not oblige or force teaching staff to follow the outline.
"Forum 15 and its leadership are aware, recognize and cherish the concern and pain of principals and teaching staff for the education system, and that in the eyes of many, prioritization it deserves," they said.
"We hope that other localities will join this outline and are sure that the government and ministers will join as well," they added.
The Teachers' Union slammed the municipalities' decision, saying that only the Education Ministry can authorize such a move.
It also said that the Federation of Local Councils and the government are devising an outline for the return of students to class as federation chairman and Modi'in-Maccabim-Re'ut mayor Haim Bibas is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the matter on Sunday.