(Montreal) What are the effects of corona virus infection on children?

Jean-Benoit Legalt
The Canadian Press

This is a question that is at the heart of the CHU Saint-Justin-based Laboratory for the Education and Health of Children (OPES), thanks to a $ 5 million grant from Funds de Research to Quebec (FRQ).

If the vaccine campaign is going well, the daily reports are improving, and will continue – if we think the health crisis is coming to an end, we should not assume that the last 18 months will soon be a bad memory, warn researchers.

“We never care about the health of young people,” said Sylvana Cote, a researcher at CHU Saint-Justin and a full-time professor at the University of Montreal School of Public Health. But we can’t think of 2020 as a three-month school loss […] One to seven class closures in 2020 will have no effect. Its effects are going to be, and they are not going to be the same for everyone, it becomes clear. ”

The program, led by Professor Kotte, revolves around four main areas: mental health and well-being; Education (impact on learning); Infection, immunity and spread; And healthy lifestyle habits (diet, sleep, drug abuse, screens, etc.)

The two cross-cutting axes focus on the economic impact of the crisis (e.g., loss of labor training) and social innovation (what can be done to mitigate the effects of the crisis).

Closing schools and disrupting school rhythms can have more or less significant consequences depending on a child’s previous educational and psychological trajectory, and this is explained by the degree of personal and family stress they experience.

Professor Kotte said the epidemic is most prevalent among children from visible minorities or economically disadvantaged families.

“Who has vulnerabilities? For whom is it high? Is it so low? What should we do to ensure that people do not leave? She explained. There are young people who are compliant and some are doing very well. […], But for some it is very difficult, and it will not go easily for everyone. ”

FRQ funding will enable the laboratory to carry out research projects for various university partners.

He added that OPES “contributes to standard assessments by saying something about the situation and identifying areas of need.”

Professor Cote said the data we currently have only reflects the situation of children who can speak or want to speak. We know nothing about the little ones who can’t talk or the ones who are “too bad” for not wanting to talk.

So he believes we also need regional, national and international action to make this a little clearer.

“Some activities have had some impact to some extent, performed more or less, and it would be very instructive for some dimensions of development and not for others,” Professor Cote concluded.

“We are always in a kind of pendulum when it comes to the well-being of children, their learning, their safety, the safety of their families … these are always very difficult choices. For now, the consequences of these choices are entirely an empirical question.”

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