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As rates of infections within children soar in the U.S., and with approximately 75 per cent of eligible children and teens fully vaccinated in Canada, COVID raises many questions for what the school year will look like. 

What are the long-term effects of COVID-19 on children’s development and mental health? Will remote learning negatively affect students’ ability to learn in person? Are they more likely to become sick?

Moderated by award-winning health reporter and columnist, André Picard, join Candice Odgers (University of California Irvine), CIFAR Program Co-Director, Child & Brain Development and Brett Finlay (University of British Columbia), CIFAR Program Co-Director Humans & the Microbiome, as they take you behind the headlines, making sense of uncertain times, and discussing the latest studies around COVID-19 and children.



André Picard is one of Canada’s top health & public policy observers and commentators. He has been a part of The Globe and Mail team since 1987, where he is a health reporter and columnist. He is also the author of five bestselling books. Picard is an eight-time nominee for the National Newspaper Awards, Canada’s top journalism prize, and past winner of the prestigious Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism.



Candice Odgers is a developmental psychologist whose research cuts across public policy, psychology and neuroscience. Her research focuses on how social inequalities and early adversity influence children’s future health and well-being, with an emphasis on how new technologies, including mobile phones and web-based tools, can be used to understand and improve the lives of young people.


Brett Finlay is a microbiologist whose research explores the interaction between pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. coli, and their host cells. He is particularly interested in how the microbiome of humans can affect conditions such as asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies and cardiovascular disease. Finlay is also interested in treatment and prevention of infections such as the C. difficile bacteria. In 2003, he led the successful initiative to develop a SARS vaccine.