Parents are lambasting the government's so-called "Green Classroom” initiative, meant to reduce quarantine times for school children exposed to verified COVID-19 patients, after an apparent outbreak in an elementary school in Jerusalem.
The Green Classroom initiative allows elementary school students aged 6-11 in areas with low morbidity, to skip compulsory quarantine if a student in their class has tested positive for coronavirus, and instead submit to daily virus tests, including two PCR tests, for a week.
"I have not sent my children to school for more than a week. Every day two more children are confirmed with the virus and it shows how much the outline of the green class is a failure," said S., a mother to students attending Jerusalem’s Zalman Aran School, where 41 students and one staffer were diagnosed with COVID since the Green Classroom’s implementation.
"Continuing with the current outline endangers not only our children but also us parents and others around us,” she added.
"This is not what the green Classroom is for, it is for cases where there is a single case in one classroom,” said T., another mother whose children attend the same elementary school.
“More and more cases of COVID-19 are discovered and this puts us all in danger. It would have been better to stop everything, close the school and have everyone isolate for a week and only then return,” she added.
The Education Ministry said in response: “The school operates in accordance with health guidelines and is subject to the Green Classroom guidelines.”
“Meanwhile, the school closed the four classrooms where more than four COVID cases were found, while the other 17 classrooms, where there were either no infections or less than four confirmed cases, continued to operate while the students underwent daily COVID tests.”
The Green Class plays an important role in maintaining a controlled and responsible day-to-day for the students, who missed many school days since the start of the COVID pandemic,” the ministry added.
Earlier this week the government announced it will expand the Green Classroom initiative to include children in kindergartens and daycare centers in areas with low case numbers, and the infection rate is considered slow.