Coronacast Episode 06 – Public Schools & Courtrooms in the Time of COVID-19

By Rhea Almeida and Luisa Portugal

This podcast series includes NYU policy students that will analyze policy issues and solutions emerging in real-time around the country.

In March, the outbreak of the coronavirus led to an immediate and sudden shut down of the economy. So how did institutions and systems cope? On today’s episode of Coronacast, hosts Rhea and Luisa discuss ICE’s new immigration policy that forces international students out of the country if universities return online in the fall. Our first guest Jasmine Jeffers sheds light on public school systems, their response to the pandemic, and how going online accentuated existing educational inequities. Attorney Brian Farkas walks us through how the United States judicial system has responded to COVID-19, and the various legal implications of systems going online. 


0:00: Welcome from hosts Rhea and Luisa

0:40: Top news of the week 

4:50: Jasmine Jeffers sheds light on the effects of COVID-19 on the public school systems

13:26: Brian Farkas, Esq, walks us through how the United States judicial system has responded to COVID-19

Guest Speakers

Jasmine Jeffers is the associate director of development at Achievement First, a college-preparatory charter school network that works to close the achievement gap for more than 14,000 students in New York City, Connecticut and Rhode Island. She has almost a decade of experience raising money and engaging alumni in the youth development, higher education and education reform sectors. Jasmine is pursuing an MPA degree at NYU Wagner, where her interests lie in education financing and program evaluation. She earned her undergraduate degree from Princeton University. She currently serves as staff writer for The Wagner Review.

Brian Farkas, Esq, is a litigator at Arent Fox LLP, a national law firm, and also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Cardozo School of Law.. He is a graduate of NYU Wagner, where he earned an MPA degree focusing on public policy, court systems, and legal institutions. He currently serves as contributing editor for The Wagner Review.


Rhea Almeida is second-year MPA international student at NYU Wagner hailing from Mumbai, India. In the past, she has worked in the fields of policy, advocacy, and development for a women’s working rights group in India. Prior to that, she worked as a TV news journalist in New Delhi. Her areas of interest include workers’ rights, gender equality, grassroot level advocacy and coronavirus response policy. In addition to being contributing editor for The Wagner Review, she serves as senator for the Wagner Student Association, and events chair for the Wagner Policy Alliance. She is also the co-founder of the ‘What’s up with Coronavirus Policy’ discussion group.

Luisa Portugal is a second-year MPA student at NYU Wagner specializing in International Development Management & Policy. She earned an LLM in Constitutional Law and Theory in Brazil. Her main topics of interest are international development, climate change and the coronavirus crisis. Luisa will serve as Co-Chair of Events for the Alliance for Climate Change and Environment (ACE) in the upcoming year. She is also the co-founder of the ‘What’s up with Coronavirus Policy’ discussion group.

News segment:

Music Credit: Pamgaea by Kevin MacLeod