Parents’ Review: The Ramaz Hybrid System


Every morning, Ramaz parents fill out the Magnus App, choose to send their children to school amidst a pandemic, and work hard to ensure their safety. The parents work tirelessly to weigh the health risks of sending their children to school versus the value placed on education. 

Most parents feel that the school has created effective protocols and are comfortable sending their children to school. Parent of a senior, and upper school teacher, Ms. Newman said, “[The administration] worked hard all summer to make the building as safe as possible …. Nazario Alicea (“Cito”) and his team have been doing an amazing job at keeping the building clean and wiping everything down.” Mr. Henken, a parent to a ninth-grader and music teacher, explained how he balances the costs and benefits of in-person learning. He commented, “Could the school do more in theory? Sure it could! But, I think there is also a value to in-person learning.”

Dr. Naama Weinstock, parent of four, including two highschoolers, recognized the different challenges the school faces each day and thinks, “It’s great that the school is allowing anyone who still feels uncomfortable to be able to join school via zoom.” Ms. Newman believes that it might be safer to only allow one grade in at a time. She said, “Maybe until we’ve got a handle on how it’s all playing out [only] one grade per day [should be in the building].”

Although teachers and faculty are constantly reminding students to social distance, they tend to forget or ignore the warnings. Ms. Newman raised some concerns when it comes to teenagers following the rules set in place. “The problem is that a lot of people, particularly teenagers in high school and college, don’t follow rules to the letter. [For example,] we saw little mini-clusters of students in the junior and senior grades.” One parent to a ninth-grader commented, “I don’t believe that students are social distancing enough. I think that sometimes they don’t understand what social distancing means. It comes down to the responsibility of the parents to educate their child on knowing how to social distance.” Dr. Weinstock mentioned that students are not doing as much as possible, however, the faculty and administration must do more. If a student gets corona, parents need to know the name of the student to ensure that their children have not been around the infected student.

The school requires every person in the building to wear a mask with two or more layers, and everyone must wear their mask correctly at all times. Parents of the Ramaz community have mixed feelings about the mask policy. A parent of a freshman commented, “I don’t believe that two-layer masks are enough. I have seen the mask that Ramaz has given. They were thoughtful, but too thin, so it does not meet my parental standards.” On the other hand, Ms. Newman said, “I think that it’s hard to ask people to do more than [wear a mask with two layers]. It’s hard to breathe. If the administration only focuses on what [the students] should do, they won’t even do what they can do.” Even if some parents do not like the school’s policy, students can still take precautions to make some parents feel more comfortable, like wearing masks properly all day (including during lunch and breaks) and social distancing from others to prevent the spread of Covid.

Ramaz had students, parents, and teachers sign a contract (the “Brit”) saying that they would follow the rules and guidelines that the school put in place to keep everyone safe. Not everyone has followed these rules and restrictions.

Should Ramaz make these stricter or will students eventually learn to compile with the rules and regulations? The parent of a ninth-grader commented, “I think the rules are pretty clear. It’s not a question of making the restrictions and guidelines stricter, it’s a question of people following what’s already there (The Brit).” Mr. Hanken commented that the school can not be on everyone’s case at all times, but the school is extremely clear on what is and isn’t allowed. He feels that the school is doing the best they can. 

While most families abide by the rules, parents were split on what they would do if people do not follow the new policies. One parent of a ninth-grader said that they would refuse to send their child to school if people break the rules because her family’s health is more important than arguing about the rules. Another parent of a freshman said, “As long as the school is open, I will be sending my child in.” Mr. Henken very thoughtfully said, “If people continue not to follow the rules but there are no more cases, I would be less inclined to pull my kids out.” This means that if students and their families do not follow the rules and there are more cases, he would consider pulling his children out for health and safety reasons. Parents were split on this question but all concluded that they would do what is best for their family.

Ramaz staff and administration work extremely hard to keep students and teachers safe. Parents know this but now it is up to the students to follow the guidelines that havebeen set. These circumstances are not ideal but to make this situation better for everyone, students must do what they are told. This means social distancing and wearing masks correctly. If students follow the rules, they will create a safer environment that the school is working to develop. Each student should ask himself or herself: Would you rather follow the school regulations which have been put in place to keep you, your family, friends, and those around you safe (and, of course, see your friends, in person, on a regular basis)? Or, would you rather the school have to close again and be entirely remote for an indefinite period of time?