With one day to go before the scheduled start of the summer holiday for middle and high schoolers, Israel's education system was in disarray Thursday as the Education Ministry and the teachers' union remained at odds over the possible extension of the academic year.
All of Israel's schools were closed from mid-March to mid-May, as the nation was ordered to “shelter in place” in efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Education Minister Yoav Galant announced earlier in the week that the school year was to be extended by nine days, but the head of the Secondary School Teachers’ Association , Ran Erez, said no agreement has been reached to keep its teachers in classrooms beyond Friday.
The union representing elementary school teachers has already agreed on an extension to the school year, but said the deal was conditioned on all teachers working the extra days.
The Finance and Education ministries have warned they would cut teachers' pay if they refused to keep schools open, as both sides prepared to take the matter to court.
Parents and students have expressed their anger at the lack of clarity. Parents say the need for more school days is valid for elementary schools so that they can go to work, and is less pressing for older children.