Dr. Shaheen Shariff, along with other experts at McGill University, offered her expertise to the pandemic paradox Canadians are currently experiencing: they have been asked to go out and face the threat that has kept them home-bound for weeks. Dr. Shariff's statement is published in the McGill Newsroom under Society and Children.
“Sending children back to school in Quebec is a double-edged sword with risk on both sides. For children in precarious situations, it could mean freedom, release and relief from family and/or sexual violence as parents head back to work, and children gain access to supports at school. But parents risk exposing their children, themselves and older relatives to COVID-19 if kids bring it home from school. School administrators, teachers and counsellors will need to recognize signs of deterioration of physical and emotional health. Hence, it is essential to put resources into developing policies, protocols and strategies to connect with, and assess children’s health and well-being during this crisis – whether they remain home, or return to school. As a society, we need to ensure that the fundamental health, well-being, human and constitutional rights of children are not impaired during this pandemic but protected and nurtured."