RAMAZ ROUND TABLE: Is the back to school plan the right model? Will it be effective?

RAMAZ ROUND TABLE: Is the back to school plan the right model? Will it be effective?

Problems with the Protocol

Eric Kalimi ’22

New York and the rest of the world are trying to figure out the best way to restore employment and education while protecting the health of their citizens. I believe that our administration has done an outstanding job outlining a reasonably safe and efficient plan for reopening in-person school. Unfortunately, I also believe that, even with all the safety precautions the school has set, it is almost inevitable that students will still contract COVID-19. The plan that has been set forth by the school states that if a student tests positive for COVID-19 while in school, that student’s grade is required to quarantine at home for two weeks. Additionally, if there is another case in school, the entire school will shut down. Therefore, I think the hybrid schedule we have now will inevitably shift to the online system we had last year. 


Updated Technology is the Way to Go!

Nicole Hirschkorn ’22

In my opinion, the Ramaz administration is taking the correct approach to opening school this semester. Without necessary precautions such as the division of grades into cohorts, though, it is a likely possibility that students could catch COVID-19, which would be disastrous for the community. In particular, I think upgrades to the technology in our school are a welcome and needed change; improving WiFi coverage is an example of the extensive foresight of the administration. Though it is annoying that we cannot enjoy school like we previously did before the pandemic, it is impossible to have ‘normal’ school without consequences. I’m going to miss Ramaz lunches, free periods, and privileges, but I think this new model will be very effective and safe. 


Excited to be Back with Friends

Rebecca Kalimi ’22

This summer I missed school more than anything! I was hoping that the pandemic would be over by September and that school would go back to normal. However, that is not the case. My grade will only be in the building for two days a week. At least that’s something, though. This is most probably the safest way for us to return to school. It gives us all some time in school while still making sure to not be overexposed. I am sure that the student body knows that our administration and teachers have our best interest in mind when they implemented the new schedule for September. It is not an easy task to balance the safety and health of the students and faculty while trying to continue Ramaz’s high academic standard. Both in health and in academics, therefore, I believe that this plan for back to school is probably the safest and most efficient.

Zooming Back to Zoom

Isaac Silverman ’21

Going into my senior year at Ramaz I hope that the plan the administration has created will be successful. As this is my last year at Ramaz, I want to be able to spend as much time as possible with all of the friends I have made throughout high school. Although I am happy to see that the  hybrid plan seems to allow me to have some interactions with my classmates. Social interactions will be kept at a minimum with no library, lunchroom, and lounges. Many senior privileges and events, which we have been waiting for all these years, will most likely be suspended. We will probably not have the chance to hang out in the senior lounge, go on Senior Shabbaton, and travel to Poland as a grade. Additionally, the schedule is not great for our sleep schedules. It would have been better to give Monday to Wednesday to juniors and seniors, and Thursday and Friday to freshman and sophomores. This way there is not a sporadic change in morning routines every day, especially for commuters who’s routines are completely shifted between in-person and virtual learning. I also believe juniors and seniors should have the majority of days in school. They are the ones who are enduring the toughest years of classes and schedules. Juniors and seniors need help with college guidance and will have difficulty connecting with their advisors since they cannot stop by their offices at any time. Freshman and sophomores have three or more years left at Ramaz, unlike the juniors and seniors do not and probably will not experience fully normalized school again. 


 In addition, despite everyone in the building being deemed “negative” before entering, there is still the threat of asymptomatic carriers. In the early weeks of quarantine, we received many emails making us aware of members of the Ramaz community, many of whom seemed and felt fine in school, who were infected with the virus. It is not possible to verify 100% of the students and faculty are actually negative unless actual tests are administered. And tests are not even a perfect solution either, since they take time to give results. In addition, even if parents verify their kids are healthy to go to school at home, there is the possibility for contraction on the various means of transportation that Ramaz students take, especially the subway which is taken by many Ramaz students. As a result of this unpreventable variable, I believe it is very possible that there will be sudden outbreaks of cases at Ramaz which will cause closures. I expect that we will shift back to full online classes within the first month or so due to a surge of COVID cases. Arguably, it is not smart for schools, in general, to be reopening now as they all shut down when there were a few thousand cases and now there are millions in the United States. I am hopeful, though, that by the spring of next year the curve will have been flattened, and there can be more integrated in-person classes.


The Ramaz Round Table is a new section that was added to the paper to allow students to voice their opinions’ on important issues. A new question will be addressed in each issue! If you are interested in sharing your opinion on a matter or feel there is a pressing topic that should be presented, please reach out to us.