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Are Schools Prepared to Reopen?

By Maddie Bunting |

“How do we have some practices and procedures in place that are going to hold [school] districts harmless [as well as] hold students harmless,” Val Verde Superintendent Mike McCormick posed in a podcast episode produced by the UCR School of Public Policy.

During the interview McCormick, who has more than 20 years of experience in the field of education, explained how school districts are utilizing data and research to make informed decisions to keep students, teachers, and administrators healthy and safe as they return to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Located in Perris, California, Val Verde Unified School District’s mission “is to create a positive environment that produces life-long learners who will become responsible, contributing citizens able to function in a culturally diverse society.” The study body consists of 75% Latinx, about 13.5% African American, and about 85% participate in the national school lunch program.

McCormick also indicated how the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected minority communities in the United States. “The research is telling us that three to four times is the rate that our Latinx and Black community members, students, and families are likely to contract COVID-19,” he said.“Understanding the legality of these unprecedented issues is imperative as we’ll figure out the next steps in combating the pandemic.

Launched in 2020, the UCR School of Public Policy podcast series explores current public policy issues with guests from throughout the policy world. Episodes are accessible via Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Anchor. More information is also available through the UCR School of Public Policy podcast page.