LaGuardia College Potential in Fighting Post-Pandemic Crisis

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, Queens and its Corona district became the epicenter of the pandemic. The residents of Queens, many of whom are undocumented migrants, faced problems caused by losing their jobs due to a lockdown. As a result, many families were unable to pay rent and were threatened with eviction; the threat of hunger hung over many people. Fortunately, community migrants could get help from initiatives such as NICE and other service providers, which distributed food to those in need in the community for several months. Government and other charitable programs tried to cover the funeral cost of people who died from the coronavirus and other expenses. In addition, many people today need psychological help in overcoming depression.

However, the critical condition associated with the possibilities of survival affected not only undocumented migrants. Overall, about 1.8 million people applied for unemployment benefits in New York City, the highest since the Great Depression (Hogan and Hicks par. 2). Compared to an overall unemployment rate of 6.2%, New York City’s unemployment rate was 9%, much higher than the 3.5% national rate before the pandemic (Winck par. 4). Government payments, including a $ 1.9 trillion package signed by Joe Biden in March, have partly supported people who have lost their sources of income but have not solved the problem (Winck par. 11). New payments of $ 2.3 trillion are expected to address the issues associated with the pandemic and restore the economy (Winck par. 12). However, these checks are provided only for citizens and do not solve non-financial issues.


LaGuardia College was founded as an educational institution with an inclusive approach, whose faculty and founders understood the problems and difficulties of the working class. At 1:14, Dr. Andersen discussed the unique opportunities the college offered to parents and prospective students, including the possibility of an internship or work experience while studying (“Values in Action”). This approach allowed students to receive education and create a new standard of living for their children. Therefore, one of the most important values of LaGuardia College is community orientation, which is guided by perseverance, responsibility, and creativity.

LaGuardia students are members of the local community and cannot but respond to the challenges faced by local communities. Our perceptions are influenced by ideas rooted in public consciousness and situations that we encounter daily (Chaffee 140). The ideas that create the basis for social consciousness are formed mainly thanks to the strong-willed efforts of people who work for the good of society. The founders of LaGuardia College are society members who shape its core values. Therefore these values can be defining and highly appropriate for solving the problems faced by the community and the wider society.

In the 1970s, the United States and New York experienced a financial crisis that arose from long-term segregation and discrimination against the non-white population. The segregation and discrimination practices specifically included the unnatural formation of city blocks due to governmentally forced diversion of investments from areas designated by the state as undesirable for living based on discriminative criteria. LaGuardia College became a stronghold and beacon of hope for people who had the potential and strived to make a difference. Many community members were pushed into the working class not by their preference but by government policy, so the existence of a formal institution such as LaGuardia College was an extremely important and defining element of community development.

In 2020-2021, New York again faced a crisis of unprecedented unemployment and financial problems that have brought many people back to coping with survival challenges. Fortunately, LaGuardia College has various student financial aid programs designed to help ensure continuing education through difficult times; another critical service is the provision of legal aid (“Immigrant Support” par. 4). Therefore, LaGuardia sets an example for its students that any difficulties in life can be overcome if one has perseverance and looks for suitable ways to achieve the goals.


Therefore, students and the faculty of LaGuardia College can help solve some of the problems existing in the local communities, especially since LaGuardia College views the community as a primary value. One of the above issues is the lack of legal awareness among migrants who do not have citizenship. According to statistics, 1,210 evictions were made in Queens during the pandemic, even though an eviction moratorium was in effect at that time (Holpuch par. 4). Therefore, providing legal advice or even simply distributing leaflets with the most relevant legal information, for example, when distributing food, would be highly beneficial and could change the lives of hundreds of people.

The second critical issue is the uniquely low rate of people in Queens who received vaccines – only 37%, compared with 65% in the Upper East Side (Holpuch par. 3). Given that most migrants are employed in jobs that require a physical presence in the workplace, such a low level of vaccinations poses a potential threat to the continued existence of the pandemic. Among the reasons Queens’s residents cannot get the vaccine is the problem of providing services for non-US citizens, many of whom have lived in local communities for 10-15 years (Holpuch par. 12). Another problem is the lack of staff to vaccinate people (Holpuch par. 10). In other words, although all US residents, including non-citizens, are eligible for vaccination under current laws, most ex-pats in Queens do not receive vaccines. The reason is insufficient information about the possibility of getting a vaccine, the non-involvement of immigrants in the health care system, and fears that someone might report their status to the migration service.

Students and the faculty of LaGuardia College can help solve this problem. Firstly, according to the rules and regulations for medical workers who carry out vaccinations, they do not have the right to inform the migration service about people’s migration status. This information must be communicated to all Queens residents who fear deportation. Second, LaGuardia College may partner with local hospitals to provide internships for medical students. This decision will help increase the number of professionals vaccinating for the community. Information about the non-disclosure of data on the status of immigrants must be included in the leaflets so that it becomes available to the people concerned.


The proposed solution has good potential; however, it may encounter several counter-arguments, which must be outlined below. For example, given the danger of the virus, not all students may want to participate in a vaccination program. In addition, leaflets may be perceived as an insufficiently reliable source of legal information, which can be decisive for the fate of people. An increase in the number of medical staff will not necessarily lead to a rise in the number of people vaccinated since information, promotion, and encouragement often play a crucial role in deciding whether to receive a vaccine. There are many myths associated with vaccination in society, for example, about the potential harm to health. Some people may refuse vaccinations due to religious beliefs. Others may feel that vaccination is too expensive a health care service.

Therefore, the decision must take into account these possible limitations and obstacles. For example, participation in an internship program should not be compulsory but provided as an opportunity for students who wish to participate in the initiative. Further, the distribution of leaflets is not a complete solution to the problem of legal ignorance of non-citizens. Therefore, LaGuardia College can also provide free legal advice services to the local population, which may have additional benefits as recipients of the services can solve legal problems associated with vaccinations and finding a job or obtaining citizenship. In addition, as Prof. Shenker stated at 3:15, most students need post-college work experience, and providing legal advice is an excellent opportunity to get that experience (“Values in Action”). An increase in the number of medical personnel will provide an opportunity to receive vaccines for people who have made the appropriate decisions, which is already a partial solution to the problem.

There should also be an information campaign aimed at promoting and encouraging vaccination and dispelling vaccine myths. It is possible that the Upper East Side residents use different sources of information than the residents of Queens, and this may be part of the problem of low vaccination rates among the local population. Given that some people refuse to be vaccinated because of religious beliefs, the information campaign can explain why, from the perspective of other believers who are willing to receive the vaccine, such a decision does not violate religious beliefs. Finally, the local population needs a compensation system for the cost of vaccination, from the state or city budget or from charitable foundations, which can be implemented through a partnership initiative.


The solution can be implemented in several phases. First, the plan will be created, which will outline the main problem and the goals that the initiative aims to achieve. Specifically, it will outline the nature of the problem and what we know about the situation, the results we need, and how the problem is defined (Chaffee 99). Next, boundaries and possible alternatives to the solution will be indicated. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of each alternative will be listed, and the needed additional information will be pointed out (Chaffee 99). The implementation plan will also include the actual solution or the decision regarding which alternatives should be pursued. Finally, some space will be left to evaluate further how well the solution is working and what adjustments are necessary. The plan will also indicate the main stakeholders and describe how to implement the selected alternatives, including the timing, type of solution, persons responsible for implementation, and a list of all participants with contact details.

In particular, the decision will include the printing of leaflets with the most current legal information, including the legal responsibility of medical staff to inform the migration service about the status of people receiving vaccinations and renters’ responsibility for evicting people during a pandemic. The leaflets will indicate the address and telephone number of the free legal advice service on obtaining citizenship and other problems associated with the post-pandemic crisis. Legal counseling can also be expanded to career and employment counseling given unemployment problems. What’s more, leaflets can inform people where they can get vaccinated by LaGuardia College medical students to increase confidence and reduce anxiety. The partnership program with local hospitals will allow students to get nursing practice, which will help them with future employment.


Thus, the community problem was determined, and the corresponding LaGuardia College values were identified. LaGuardia College students and faculty can help the local community fight the post-pandemic crisis by disseminating up-to-date legal information and providing legal advice and employment and career counseling. The initiative can be even more effective by creating a partnership program that allows La Guardia medical students to vaccinate community members at the college or other designated locations. Such a decision will completely neutralize the distrust among non-citizens towards government health workers and quickly change the situation with vaccinations in the area for the better.

Works Cited

Chaffee, John. Thinking Critically. 12th ed., Cengage Learning, 2017.

Hogan, Bernadette, and Nolan Hicks. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo Aide Defends Handling of Unemployment Fiasco.” New York Post, 2020, Web.

Holpuch, Amanda. “‘We Don’t Get Help from Anywhere’: COVID Exposes Inequality in Crisis-Hit New York Neighborhood.” The Guardian, 2021, Web.

“Immigrant Support.” La Guardia Community College, n.d., Web.

“Values in Action: LaGuardia’s Working Class during the Fiscal Crisis of the 1970s.” YouTube, uploaded by Cheri Car, 2021, Web.

Winck, Ben. “America’s Companies are Struggling to Hire Workers Back. It Risks Derailing the Economic Recovery.” Insider, 2021, Web.

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1. ChalkyPapers. "LaGuardia College Potential in Fighting Post-Pandemic Crisis." July 26, 2022.


ChalkyPapers. "LaGuardia College Potential in Fighting Post-Pandemic Crisis." July 26, 2022.