Experts: Summer in the time of COVID-19


Published: 22Jun2020

The arrival of warmer weather in the Northern Hemisphere raises the question of whether summer could slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. While warmer weather typically ends the annual flu season in temperate zones, climate alone has not stopped the COVID-19 pandemic from sweeping any part of the globe. (National Post)

Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue. To find more experts who can comment on a wide range of topics related to COVID-19, click here.

Already thinking about Back to school season

Delphine Collin-Vézina, Associate Professor, School of Social Work and Director, Centre for Research on Children and Families

As schools reopen, teachers and other school staff will need to make sure vulnerable children are provided with a school environment where they can truly thrive. Teachers can focus on providing an environment conducive to emotional security and instilling a feeling of self-efficacy to help vulnerable children have a smooth, enjoyable school experience, as they transition back to their school environment.”

A licensed clinical psychologist, Delphine Collin-Vézina is an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work, as well as the Tier II Canada Research Chair in Child Welfare, the Director of the Centre for Research on Children and Families and the Nicolas Steinmetz and Gilles Julien Chair in Social Pediatrics. Her research interests include clinical topics related to child maltreatment, child sexual abuse, and trauma.

delphine.collin-vezina [at] (English, French)

Experiencing ‘pandemic fatigue’

Jason Harley, Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery

Anxiety isn’t the only emotion that can negatively impact the quality of our thinking and responsible behavior. As numbers continue to improve in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada, we must also be vigilant of the influence that relief can have in directing our attention and influencing the way we make sense of COVID-19-related information. Like most things, relief is good in the right dosage because too much can lead to overconfidence, selectively attending to pandemic-related information, and adopting behaviors before they are advised for our and others’ safety.”

Jason Harley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, an associate member of the Institute for Health Sciences Education and a Junior Scientist at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC). They are currently conducting research to investigate coping strategies health care workers are using to deal with stress during the pandemic, assess their effectiveness and use that information to recommend new measures to protect the mental health of health care professionals. In collaboration with the SAILS Lab, they are also a developing and testing public education tools to enhance COVID-19 health and media literacy with a special focus on the role of emotion regulation in promoting public understanding and adaptive health behaviors.

jason.harley [at] (English, French)

Relaxing distancing measures safely

Matthew Oughton, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases

As the majority of the population presumably remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2, relaxing mitigation measures that have been in place since mid-March necessarily come with some risk. Those risks are manageable, provided that adequate testing and contact tracing continue to be performed and need to be balanced against the many regular activities that our population requires in order to function effectively.”

Matthew Oughton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and a specialist in infectious diseases and medical microbiology. He is based at the Jewish General Hospital, where he supervises the bacteriology and molecular microbiology laboratories. His research interests are focused on the use of molecular techniques to improve clinical diagnostic assays, with relevant publications on C. difficile, MRSA, influenza, and other pathogens.

matthew.oughton [at] (English)

The future of the workplace

Jean-Nicolas Reyt, Assistant Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management

Business leaders are increasingly considering remote work as a long-term alternative, so as to reduce their real estate footprint. Managers who have no experience with remote workers face important challenges, such as monitoring performance, maintaining employee motivation, and onboarding new team members. Organizations need to redefine what "management" means in a world where employees work remotely.”

Jean-Nicolas Reyt is an Assistant Professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management. His research focuses on the relationship between employees' mental representations of their work and important work outcomes including creativity, exploratory learning, and interpersonal influence. He also studies mobile technology-facilitated work and other organizational factors that influence mental representations.

jean-nicholas.reyt [at] (English, French)

Worth the risk?

Ross Otto, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology

The onus of risk management has now shifted from the government to us as individuals. We may well see more variability in the way people manage risks, as it is now in our hands.”

Ross Otto is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology. He studies decision-making, and more particularly, why we sometimes rely on slow, deliberative, and effortful choices, while at other times we rely on fast, habitual, and reflexive choice.

ross.otto [at] (English)

Contact Information

Frederique Mazerolle
McGill University
frederique.mazerolle [at]
Office Phone: 
(514) 398-6693
Mobile Phone: 
(514) 617-8615
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