Tel Aviv’s Regional Labor Court bars unvaccinated teacher who refused virus testing

Judge says danger to students, staff, outweighs right to refuse vaccination, testing.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

In a precedent-setting decision, the Tel Aviv Regional Labor Court on Sunday ruled that a teaching assistant who had not been vaccinated and was refusing to get regular coronavirus tests can be barred from working at school and was not eligible to continue getting paid.

The unnamed teacher in a special education program refused to show a negative coronavirus test on a regular basis, and the judge decided that the health of the students, their families and other members of the teaching staff came first. The teacher works in the Kokhav Ya’ir-Tzur Yigal regional council in the center of the country, about 20 kilometers 12 miles) northeast of Tel Aviv.

Israeli legal and health authorities had mandated that unvaccinated workers could not be allowed to physically return to teach in a school setting unless they got tested regularly for the coronavirus and showed those negative results.

Judge Meirav Klieman ruled that because there is currently no legislation in place dealing with the issue, the verdict would serve as a precedent in other labor cases that might come before Israel labor courts, which are separate from the criminal justice system.

“At this time, we do not believe that the applicant’s apparent rights outweigh her right and duty to care for the welfare of her students, their families and educational staff,” Klieman wrote in her decision.

Read  Israeli diplomat held in 'prison-like conditions' in China after catching mild case of Covid

The head of public health at Israel’s Ministry of Health, Dr. Sharon Alroy-Preis, said that people returning to work who are not vaccinated “may pose a significant risk to the public receiving service in these facilities.”

“I am happy that the court ruled that the right to life outweighs the teaching assistant’s right to dignity and respect,” Yuval Arad, head of the Kokhav Ya’ir Tzur Yigal Council, where the teaching assistant works, told Ynet.

Although more than half of Israel’s 9.3 million citizens have received at least one coronavirus vaccination shot, the vaccine is only approved for those ages 16 and older. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, there are 2.4 million children enrolled in the education system this year, but only those 16 and older in grades 11 and 12 are eligible to get vaccinated.

The vaccines released so far, including the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines that are currently stocked in Israel, are not yet approved for children.

Pfizer recently completed a clinical trial for youth 12-15 years old and will soon start trials for younger children, while Moderna has begun two separate studies – one for children aged 6 months to 11 years and the other for those 12-17 years of age, WebMD reported.

Read  Israeli diplomat held in 'prison-like conditions' in China after catching mild case of Covid