Concerns surround American students returning to Canadian schools amid COVID-19
Post-secondary students from the pandemic-riven United States are getting ready to go back to school in Canada — a rite of passage that’s causing more anxiety than usual for parents and front-line university workers alike in the age of COVID-19.
At Montreal’s McGill University, some employees are growing worried the school prepares to welcome foreign students into on-campus residences, even those whose courses are entirely online.
Parents, too, are wrestling with new and unfamiliar concerns: the risk of on-campus infection, the fact border restrictions make in-person visits impossible and the prospect of their kids facing anti-American backlash.
One McGill employee, who spoke to The Canadian Press on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussions at work, said there is concern among the rank and file of another “fiasco” like the outbreak at Quebec’s long-term care homes, which accounted for 80 per cent of the highest provincial total of COVID-19 deaths in Canada.
“I am in the office with, like, four colleagues and we’re all, ‘What’s going to happen?’ In America, it’s blowing up there like crazy, and people are supposed to be coming back in seven weeks,” said the employee, who described the group as front-line workers — many in their 50s or 60s, with elderly parents at home — who are typically in close contact with students.
“There are a lot of family concerns related to health that are connected with this. And, you know, maybe I wouldn’t be thinking about these things if I hadn’t seen America erupt into such a mess.”