Dr Garcia Responds To Covid-19

Andre Lucas, Writer

Since March 16, all schools throughout Downey Unified have remained closed as recommended by the State of California due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Though many students, teachers, and families throughout the Downey Unified School District have been malevolently affected by the virus, the district, under the direction of the superintendent, Dr. John Garcia, is doing everything in their capacity to alleviate the stresses of this time.

 

As recognized, the seniors’ last year in high school was cut short due to the virus, which has led to the cancelation of the end of the year activities, most notably prom and graduation. To heal these wounds, Downey Unified has arranged for the stadium lights at each high school to turn on at 8:20 pm, which is 20:20 in military time, as well as the construction of lawn signs to honor each senior. However, Dr. Garcia explained how the district is doing more to aid seniors through this tough time in their lives.

 

“We’re also working with the site administrators to see what can be done about end of the year activities… [and] maintaining a relationship and communicating with Long Beach City College to figure out when we can do an in-person commencement ceremony for our seniors,” explained Garcia. “And [we’re] having good conversations with our teachers and our principles about how we are working on supporting the emotional learning of our kids as well and where they are beyond academics.”

 

Furthermore, due to the substantial number of closures of businesses and schools, an economic recession in the State economy is on the rise, which will have a negative impact on the Downey Unified School District since it receives funding from the revenue generated by the state according to Dr. Garcia. To elaborate more on how a recession would lead to cutting funding in the district, he explained the two ways California obtains its revenue: through sales and income taxes.

 

“When you look at those two things, for sales tax, people aren’t buying as much as they used to so the sales tax revenue is going to drop [and] people aren’t working… so they’re not going to be paying income taxes to the state of California like they were, so the state economy is going to take a significant drop in revenue and that ultimately makes its way down to the funding that they provide to us as school districts.”

 

Although the impact of Coronavirus is leaving so many throughout the district distraught, Garcia understands this, for he was once a Downey Unified student himself and strongly believes in the district’s slogan “Our kids deserve the best.” Therefore, Garcia has a positive message for all DUSD families and students in need of a positive message during this tumultuous time.

 

“I want all [of] our schools to know that my heart is with all of you. This isn’t the way any of us would prefer to do this and certainly that I miss all of you tremendously and wish this could be different but that we have to continue to work together as a family and stick together… our kids deserve the best, our students deserve the best… and we want to continue doing the best for you in this circumstance and moving forward at all times.”

 

Indeed the pandemic has caused the senior class of 2020 a great deal of pain, for their activities have been canceled and the impending recession will have a negative impact on the district financially, yet under Dr. Garcia’s leadership, the district will do everything it can, everything it can to best alleviate the stress of this pandemic.