The Administration Should Require Vaccines


Ashley Behm ’24

At the beginning of August, the Ramaz community received an email from Mr. Jonathan Cannon with the announcement that all eligible students and teachers are required to get the Covid-19 vaccine before returning to school for this coming year. Mr. Cannon also announced that everyone will be back in the building five days a week. Requiring students to get the vaccine is a huge step forward to our return to a normal school year. A vaccine mandate will make being in the building full-time a safe option. The Covid-19 vaccine reduces the risk of getting and transmitting the virus. Additionally, the vaccine protects people from becoming critically sick if they contract the virus. 

As someone who is fully vaccinated, I am very grateful that I have the ability to protect myself and others. I feel extremely lucky to live in the United States of America where the vaccine is available and easily obtainable. Unfortunately, other countries around the globe are facing debilitating shortages of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Contrarily, in America we have plenty of doses and have started bribing hesitant citizens with money and donuts. Merely having a choice to take the vaccine shows Americans’ immense privilege. Getting vaccinated not only protects ourselves but everyone around us as well.

As a rising sophomore, I would like to have a normal high school experience. I missed out on many high school experiences that I am eager to experience this year, and I am thankful that the vaccine has enabled me to be able to have those opportunities this coming year. For example, I have never been in the building every day of the week. I have also never stayed after school for an extracurricular activity or eaten in the lunchroom. Zoom classes are no replacement for in-person classes because it is much more challenging to learn at home with the endless amount of distractions and technology issues.

Over the summer, the Delta variant of Covid-19 emerged. The Delta variant is very infectious and has distanced us from a return to “normalcy”. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing masks indoors even for vaccinated people. Many unvaccinated people struggle to see the point of getting the vaccine if they still have to wear masks and follow safety precautions. Eventually, when more and more people get vaccinated, fewer people will contract the virus which lowers the chances of new variants developing. Masks are still required to be worn in school and the desks are still three feet apart. These are extra precautions to ensure that the school does not have Covid-19 breakouts so that we can remain in the building. 

I believe that Ramaz is in the right for requiring everyone to get the vaccine. We have a responsibility to protect our community, especially the most vulnerable. There may be families who disagree with Mr. Cannon’s decision; therefore, the school needs to be patient with those who are apprehensive about getting the vaccine. It is the school’s responsibility to show these families the facts and persuade them to get the vaccine. For those who are unable to take the vaccine for personal health reasons, it is very important that they wear masks and get tested for Covid-19 regularly. 

The school requires its students to be vaccinated against other illnesses, such as measles. Therefore, it is reasonable of them to ask us to be vaccinated against Covid-19 which has taken the lives of many, even within our community. Covid-19 will continue to take more lives if we do not do our utmost to protect ourselves and others. It is a Jewish principle to protect our community and even those who are not part of our community. Receiving the vaccine and continuing to follow safety measures will help us fulfill that principle.