Mystery Illness Shuts Down Ramaz School in Manhattan

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ramazRebecca Spitz of NY1 reports: A school on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has been shut down after more than two dozen students came down with a mystery illness this morning.

According to the Ramaz School’s website, the students were suffering from “a highly contagious but not dangerous virus spread through contact from hand-to-surface and person-to-person.”

Ramaz says it decided to take such dramatic action after consulting with the school’s pediatrician and the city’s Department of Health.

The DOH says it didn’t order the closing, but is investigating what’s going on at the school which houses more than a thousand students.

One of the school’s administrators told NY1 that 53 students and six faculty members were suffering from something that’s likely viral, characterized by symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea and low grade fever.

He went on to say that all of those affected go to Ramaz’ early childhood center.

Since many of the students who are sick have siblings in Ramaz’ middle and upper schools, administrators elected to close all three schools just to be safe.

And because the virus seems so contagious, the school is asking parents to keep their children from going on play dates or visiting each other at home for the next 48 hours.

The school says Ramaz’ food service staff has already done a specialized cleaning in case the illness is a result of food poisoning. A specialized top-to-bottom cleaning was also ordered for the lower school building.

School officials said they have not determined when the buildings will reopen.

{NY1/Noam Newscenter}


  1. From the Ramaz site:

    Dear Ramaz Family,

    We very much appreciate the response of parents to today’s difficult circumstance. At this time, we would like to update the community on a number of important issues.

    Because we continue to receive reports of additional ECC & Lower School students becoming ill, as well as the first reports of illness in the Middle School, the ECC, Lower School, and Middle Schools will be closed tomorrow, Thursday, December 10, in order to try to halt transmission of the illness.

    The Upper School will be open on tomorrow, Thursday, December 10. While there are no reported cases of related illnesses in the Upper School, we are carefully monitoring the situation. Should the situation change between now and tomorrow morning, we will be in touch.

    Highly-specialized cleaning crews are working through the night and during tomorrow to sanitize all areas and surfaces in the Lower School building. Additional specialized cleaning will take place tonight in the Middle School and Upper School buildings.

    These decisions were made on the advice of our consulting pediatricians.

    We strongly urge Upper School parents who also have children in other divisions who are ill to keep their Upper School children home. Upper School teachers will be available to assist in making up work or exams.

    Based on the symptoms that have been reported, the illness appears to be a form of viral gastroenteritis. However, we are still waiting for the results of culture tests, which take several days, before a final determination can be made by the NYC Department of Health.

    The New York City Department Department of Health, Division of Environmental Investigations, indicated that there were no toxins in the food served in the Lower School and they are now checking to determine if there was transmission of a virus from any of the food workers.

    We remind you that anyone who experiences symptoms of projectile vomiting, low grade fever, and diarrhea should be kept hydrated. In event of any additional symptoms, parents should consult their pediatricians or their personal doctors.

    Again, because this is a highly contagious virus, we strongly urge you not to permit your children to go on play dates or gather in one another’s homes.

  2. Makom Kfria???
    it were not for this makom torah many of the students wouldnt have a jewish education at all. furthermore, it is to the credit of rabbi lookstein that his students can actually learn ivrit b’ivrit inside without the aide of an eglish translation a soncino or artscroll. it was his dream to create a world where yidden can teach their children without needing the crutch that society has now devolved to lean on.

  3. any place that beshita believes in a co-ed school is a makom kefirah.

    ivrit be’ivrit does not teach one how to learn gemora(or even nach) better at all.

    As a matter of fact, it could make things even worse – the students begin thinking that ivrit is the same as gemora lashonos, and they start confusing the two, using words out of context, interpreting gemora terms by their ivrit meanings….gedolei yisroel throughout the generations did not teach things ivrit be’ivrit – but then, it’s not as if co-ed schools are sanctioned by msorah(or halacha) either, so who cares?

  4. kofer watch – if this was a co-ed kiruv school, you’d be right; it would then(according to some opinions in the poskim, could be even a minority, the seridei aish is one of them) be justified for kiruv.

    I hope that’s the case with ramaz. I’m going to assume it is, because believing in this as halacha is in fact, kefirah.


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