In the 2021-2022 school year, Ramaz has required the Covid-19 vaccine for “all eligible students and employees in order to return to school.” Masks are still required for all vaccinated individuals. Although parents and students may have varied opinions on the requirement, Ramaz has decided to stand by its decision to mandate the vaccine. To address the main concerns of the Ramaz community, The Rampage interviewed Nurse Judith and Larry Berman, Ramaz’s medical staff.
Emily Vayner: What are the top three medical reasons that the Ramaz health team decided to push the vaccine requirement forward?
Nurse Judith & Larry Berman: Number one: to help improve the level herd immunity within our student and faculty body. Number two, to protect individuals from becoming very sick and being hospitalized or even dying from this virus. Lastly, to protect those individuals that cannot get this vaccine because of medical reasons or those that don’t build an immunity even with the vaccine.
Emily Vayner: Throughout the pandemic, Ramaz has adhered to both state and city guidelines. The vaccination requirement is neither a state requirement nor a city requirement. Why has Ramaz decided to take a step that public schools and other private institutions, such as yeshivas, have not?
Nurse Judith & Larry Berman: Ramaz has always adhered to regulation given to us by the State and City Health Departments and we have never been more lenient, but we have been stricter at times to help protect our community throughout this pandemic. This is a step we took, yes, a stricter step to do just that. We are not the only school in NYC or the surrounding areas that has taken this step.
Emily Vayner: Why are students who have antibodies or have had Covid within the past 3 months required to get vaccinated?
Nurse Judith & Larry Berman: Students that have had COVID in the past three months can wait till the end of the three-month period to get vaccinated. The protection from previous natural infection is not as durable or as broad as that provided by the vaccines. This increased quality of immunity is especially important with the delta variant.
Emily Vayner: Are there any specific medical issues that yield an exception to the requirement for the vaccine?
Nurse Judith & Larry Berman: Each case is looked at individually and reviewed by Ramaz.
Emily Vayner: Ramaz mandated the vaccine before it was FDA approved. The vaccine was recently FDA approved for ages 16 and older. This only includes the juniors and seniors, whereas the vaccine is required in Ramaz for students 12 and older. How do you think this new information will impact Ramaz’s decision to mandate the vaccine?
Nurse Judith & Larry Berman: As of right now it has not changed our decision on the mandate.
Emily Vayner: How do you think the spike in Delta variant cases will affect Ramaz’s mandate for the vaccine if students and teachers can still get Covid even if they are vaccinated?
Nurse Judith & Larry Berman: While people can still get COVID even if they are vaccinated, the vaccine will limit people from dying or getting very ill. It will also help mitigate the hospitals from getting overrun with COVID patients.