The City of Medicine/DPS Volunteer Medical Corps (VMC) began in July 2020. The VMC was founded by a group of DPS moms who had a vision for how to help schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Several of these moms were healthcare workers - doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists - who understood what was required to keep themselves and their colleagues safe from COVID-19 at work. These moms were also active volunteers in their schools and understood the lack of resources pre-COVID that made the job of our DPS teachers and staff so difficult. After many conversations with school leaders and community partners, the VMC launched as one small way of supporting the educators who have given so much to Durham's kids.
Having kids in schools during the pandemic places burdens on school staff. Taking temperatures, asking screening questions, and supervising kids who get sick during the day are all extra work. Providing extra masks, sanitizer and other supplies is a challenge when there is no extra funding. The Volunteer Medical Corps exists to help carry some of these burdens, which are otherwise placed on teachers and staff. We are not officially part of the Durham Public Schools system but we are primarily focused on supporting DPS students and their families. We also provide assistance to other non-profits that serve kids in Durham.
Guidelines and recommendations for maintaining safe in-school instruction are constantly changing as experts assess new information on the coronavirus and as infection rates change in the local area. Ultimately, it would be great for the VMC effort to not be needed for COVID-19. Our efforts could then be focused on extending the reach of organizations in the community that provide preventive health services, like
VMC volunteers are made up of parents and community members, some with medical backgrounds and others without, who are able to devote a little bit of time in the mornings to help with arrival screenings, during the day to help review district, county and state level resources with school families, and during the evening to help coordinate donations of supplies not provided by the state.