New Guidelines, New Policies


Keren Teichner

In December 2021, the CDC changed its quarantine guidelines. Since December, the guidelines have stated, “People with COVID-19 should isolate for five days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by five days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter.” Many people are excited about what this could mean regarding our approach to dealing with Covid in the future. Although some people worry about the repercussions of the laxed guidelines, Ramaz should adopt these new guidelines. 

The first reason Ramaz should stick to the new five-day policy is because not trusting the experts has been an underlying problem in beating this virus. With pro-mask people, anti-mask people, pro-vaccine people, and anti-vaccine people we have been divided in our opinions as a school. Nevertheless, Ramaz chose to stick with the CDC guidelines, and listen to the scientists. For the most part, the experts have been correct and Ramaz has rightly listened to them. They said to wear masks indoors, and we did. They said to get vaccinated, and we required vaccines. Later, they said we do not have to wear masks outdoors, and we stopped requiring masks outdoors. We listened to the experts before and it has worked, allowing us to stay open most of the year.  Why should this be any different?

The second reason that the five day quarantine is enough is because we have reached a point where we just need to move on. This is not to say that we must pretend that Covid does not exist, but we are not in the same position that we were two years ago. Two years ago, we were fully on Zoom and were unable to see people for months. One year ago, we were partially in person, partially on Zoom. We dealt with the chaos of some people in person and some people on Zoom, and constantly having to haul our stuff home in fear of a shutdown. As of March 10th, Covid cases are low, averaging less than seven hundred daily cases. We have just dropped the mask mandate, a central feature of the Covid environment in school. Making someone stay at home, zooming for ten days will disrupt the new environment. Not only will it disrupt the environment for the student who is forced to stay at home and stare at a screen for ten days, it will disrupt the students in school who will have to deal with seeing their classmate on Zoom. Additionally, the technical problems that the teacher is bound to have will lead to fragmented learning where the teacher needs to divide their attention towards the students in school, students at home, and any technical difficulties. These complications will not foster the environment that students really need after such a depressing two years. 

Another question is should Ramaz require a negative test to come back to school after contracting Covid? Again I say no, for the same reason. Why must we potentially make someone wait even longer to come back to school, waiting on a test that more often than not, will come back negative. Moving forward should be our top priority. With vaccinations and better treatments people are at a much lower risk of severe Covid than they were a year ago. We need to accept that Covid is not going anywhere, and learning how to deal with it will determine the future of our school.