How is the COVID-19 pandemic transforming young people’s lives and experiences?

Joining CUI host Mary W. Rowe for our ongoing series of candid conversations – How is the COVID-19 pandemic transforming young people’s lives and experiences? – are Josh Fullan, Maximum City; Joe Salmon, UBC Class of 2024;  Zoë Bennett, Youth Advocate; Jordan Bighorn, Community Education Development Association (CEDA); and Miatta Dukuly, Youth Advocate. 

5 Key

A roundup of the most compelling ideas, themes and quotes from this candid conversation

1. We must enhance youth voices

When developing plans for the future, young people cannot be left out of the equation. Including youth in these conversations, especially during the pandemic, will help develop plans that meet their needs. At the same time, we must find ways to encourage young people to speak out about their experiences. Indeed, this may be one way to help empower young people during and after the pandemic.

2. Young people are experiencing this pandemic in vastly different ways.

No two young people share the same background, circumstance, knowledge or personality. Some young people have been thriving during the pandemic because they can spend more time towards their passion projects. Some are just getting by, and are missing the time spent with friends and classmates. Others, however, are struggling because they are less engaged with their education and lack in-person activities and essential interactions with peers and adults.

3. Schools and parents can’t do it alone

From teachers to parents to mentors, parents and educators are taking on most of the responsibilities when it comes to caring for young people during the pandemic. Continuing in this way is unsustainable – families and schools alike need more assistance. Government and communities need to offer more support for schools and to develop innovative strategies for education and re-opening plans.

4. Provide flexibility

Young people are coming of age during a tumultuous time without activities, physical contact and their usual support systems. Rather than pressing for traditional coursework, teachers should instead prioritize flexibility when it comes to academic assessment. For example, students can pursue passion projects during their spare time, or seek to engage with their local communities. Indeed, this can be continued after the pandemic with the help of their teachers and communities. Many schools have already shown students flexibility by adjusting grading systems, but such approaches should also be adjusted on a long-term basis.

5. Schools must be made more accessible

Schools should be made more open for students to access, regardless of background, identity, ability, or learning style. This includes supplementing online learning with other delivery options. Indeed, one of our panelists offered the concept of “raising the walls” around schools.

Full Panel

Note to readers: This video session was transcribed using auto-transcribing software. Manual editing was undertaken in an effort to improve readability and clarity. Questions or concerns with the transcription can be directed to with “transcription” in the subject line.

Mary Rowe [00:00:23] Hi, everybody, it’s Mary Rowe from the Canadian Urban Institute. Really, really pleased to have this session happening today on city talk about how the pandemic spent affecting young people. And we published a report two weeks ago at COVID One Hundred when we had been at one hundred days of this. And one of the things that we saw was that it was that the pandemic doesn’t affect everybody equally. It affects people depending on their age and their income and the neighborhoods that they’re in and a circumstance in which they live. And that this is one of the huge challenges and we hope one of the important learnings as we continue to live with this this situation is how do we actually have responses that actually address people’s specific needs in their particular neighborhoods and their particular stages of life. And what does that mean for us in terms of city builders? How are rebuilding neighborhoods? How are we building schools? How are we building parks? And how do we have to adjust those things to make sure they worked for everyone? One of the things that we try to emphasize that the Urban Institute is that our urbanism has to be for everyone. And the only way it’s going to be for everyone is if everyone is involved. These broadcasts originate in Toronto, although fortunately we have people from across the country who participate in city talks. And we’re really pleased to have this assorted group here to talk to us about young people, particularly Toronto, as you know, is the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Haudenosaunee, the Annishnabec, Chippewa and the Wendat peoples. It’s also home to many diverse First Nations from Metis Peoples and Inuit Peoples and Toronto is also covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit and the Williams treaties that were signed with multiple Annishnabec, nations. Part of what we’re we’re coming to terms with, I think here is the extent to which Urbanism has historically been excluding various groups. And that’s been true in terms of the indigenous populations that have been here far longer than we have, but also people of color and other equity seeking groups. So we’re trying to be frank about that and come to terms with that and figure out what the legacy is and how do we actually address it, amended and changed the way we live. So, so really, really pleased to have this gang on with us today. And we’re going to talk about lived experience. We had a session on Tuesday with some of our seniors and older adults and a comment was made from the floor that there wasn’t really an older adults on there except me. I was sort of the token older adult. And I’m not that old, so I don’t feel that old. But but we have. That’s not the case today. We’ve got people who are young people who are going to talk to us about what they’ve been seeing. So we’re always interested in what do you think? What do you think’s working OK? What hasn’t been working through the COVID period and what do you anticipate is going to be ahead next? So and let’s start with you, Joe. You’re coming in from a not so sunny Vancouver this morning, and you’re sipping coffee because it’s it’s the morning there. Whereas here in eastern Canada, middle candidates, we’re ready for lunch. Joe, tell me what it’s been like. What what have you been doing? Tell and tell us a little bit about yourself, where you are in school and all it can earn.


Joe Salmon [00:03:21] Hi, my name is Joe. I’m 16. I just graduated high school. We’ll be starting at UBC in the fall. And in regards to the pandemic, it’s been it’s been nice to have the extra time, frankly, after school moved online. Our school board was generous enough to put a policy in place that our marks wouldn’t drop. So after I had my post-secondary squared away, I’d basically had time to pursue my own interests and figure out my academic grounds. So that was a huge benefit.


Mary Rowe [00:03:54] What do you mean your marks couldn’t drop you? They say they say whatever kind of whatever you had going into COVID would be the mark you get. Yeah, well, that’s a good thing. Your marks were OK. I don’t know what you were doing if you were a person who’s thinking, I’m going to pull it out of the bag for the last term, but it was OK.


Joe Salmon [00:04:10] Yeah, it was fine. Very generous of them.


Mary Rowe [00:04:16] So how have you been spending your time? You’re saying that basically classes stopped you. What grade are you in? You’re going in? You just graduated.


Joe Salmon [00:04:23] Just graduated.


Mary Rowe [00:04:24] So. So have you been spending your time? You’ve had three and a half months. We didn’t have to go to class. What do you been doing?


Joe Salmon [00:04:30] Lots of self studying for art history, which is what I want to study in postsecondary. And then working on music, but really being on vacation.


Mary Rowe [00:04:42] What what. What kind of music.


Joe Salmon [00:04:45] Hip hop. Hip hop. I produce instrumentals.


Mary Rowe [00:04:50] Oh you do. And then do you use some social media form to be able to broadcast it. What do you use.


Joe Salmon [00:04:55] Usually Instagram. Instagram. OK.


Mary Rowe [00:04:58] And and you’ve had to sort of selbst that you’ve been self supervising your time. Like there’s nobody been sort of keeping tabs on you saying just a second. Joe, what about this or what about that?


Joe Salmon [00:05:08] Yeah, I know it’s been pretty freeform.


Mary Rowe [00:05:11] And that’s worked out OK for you.


Joe Salmon [00:05:13] It’s alright. I mean, I’m pretty much nocturnal, but it’s OK.


Mary Rowe [00:05:18] Yes, you did mention that. But you’re nocturnal. It’s nine o’clock in the morning there. Sorry about that. We appreciate you. OK, earlier than normal. But Joe, what’s been difficult for you.


Joe Salmon [00:05:29] Really just not seeing friends? Because I’m pretty used to seeing people every day. My friends and I have a lot of spare blocks together during class, so we’re always hanging out. Right. Not having that is pretty difficult.


Mary Rowe [00:05:42] Yeah. And so you’ve had to meet you during our social media, obviously. And you do it on there. I’ll be seeing it on your Instagram feed, right?


Joe Salmon [00:05:48] Yeah. Lots of online gaming in the evenings.


Mary Rowe [00:05:51] Oh, OK. And how many people in your household, Joe, how many of you are living in that space?


Joe Salmon [00:05:57] Four of us. It’s me and my parents. My little sister, who’s five is five.


Mary Rowe [00:06:02] And what do you think the experience has been like for her?


Joe Salmon [00:06:05] I think she likes it. She doesn’t really know what’s going on, but she likes having her family at my house all the time.


Mary Rowe [00:06:12] I just I want to. Have your parents been trying to work through this?


Joe Salmon [00:06:16] Yeah, they both work in post-secondary. So moving online was pretty easy for them.


Mary Rowe [00:06:20] And they just have to worry about a 16 year old sleeping on the sleep. And a five year old who is really glad they’re there, wants to know why, why they’re not playing with her all the time.


Joe Salmon [00:06:29] Probably they haven’t pretty. I feel like as far as it goes.


Mary Rowe [00:06:35] OK, well, I’m going to come back to you and talk a little bit more about the future and what you think universes can be like. Now, let’s go to Miata. Yeah, to your it. You told me you’re sitting on the floor in your house and when. So, yeah. So tell us what it’s been like for you. What’s what’s what’s where are you in life, what stage you add in terms of our school or what? And then what’s your experience been over the last couple of months on.


Miatta Dukuly [00:06:58] Well, OK. So recently I got a job. And but before that, it was really hard staying motivated during the pandemic. With school out and sports are done. My my basketball championships were canceled.


Mary Rowe [00:07:20] That’s a drag.


Miatta Dukuly [00:07:22] And I just kind of struggled to find that routine again. And so on. I don’t know. I kind of stopped. Like Joe said, my school also had the rule where whatever marks you were at before the pandemic. That’s the marks. Your marks can’t drop any lower than that. So you can only go higher, turn and choose to turn in an assignment. And it’s not really higher. It won’t really affect you notes if it would drop it. So I didn’t really worry about school in that sense, which it wasn’t an issue, but I wasn’t really motivated at the same time because I was like, okay, well, it’s not that my notes aren’t going to job, but it’s that. I don’t really. Need to. I don’t know. I kind of felt like it wasn’t as important because everyone’s always looking at notes and so. I also you could say I was kind of nocturnal as well. Lots of netflix. Yeah, a lot lot of netflix. You know, I was just trying to find some routine. And now that’s a lot better, especially with a job.


Mary Rowe [00:08:43] And so before we talk about your job. So what grade are you in?


Miatta Dukuly [00:08:47] Oh, going into 11.


Mary Rowe [00:08:49] So going to get to eleven. So you ran into eleven and sports was a big part of your life. So that’s the other thing. It’s not just that the school, the education part is going. But all those extracurriculars are gone. And I’m like, when I was a kid, boy, sports was it for me. What basketball championship were you? Were you supposed to be playing.


Miatta Dukuly [00:09:06] On my school team? Provincials got canceled that day, but also I play for a club team outside of school and I was at track and field when I found out. I also play track. When I found out that the basketball was canceled and I was like. Is this a joke? Like, I didn’t know it was. I don’t know, it’s kind of like very sudden. I think we knew it was coming. Kind of. But not that fast. It was the same day. I’m pretty sure people arrived at the scene and they’re like, oh, it’s canceled. And then outside of club was canceled. And then soon the facility shut down. Yeah. And it was just your home. You don’t know how long this is gonna happen. Yeah. And we’ll try to get.


Mary Rowe [00:09:53] So you were doing track and field in Winnipeg in March. just sayin there’s there was snow, wasn’t there?


Miatta Dukuly [00:10:02] Yeah. But we have an indoor facility.


Mary Rowe [00:10:04] OK, well I was trying to imagine you going around the track with the snow. Getting that snow off the track, don’t you. Don’t. It doesn’t. The snow last in Winnipeg until, I don’t know, June or so.


Miatta Dukuly [00:10:13] Maybe not like April ish. But April.


Mary Rowe [00:10:18] I’m just teasing. I’m teasing. I. We always want to tease Winnipeggers about big mosquitoes and a lot of snow. So you say you lost your Extra-Curricular, you and you were doing track and field of basketball at the same time. And then your classes are gone. And as you say, like it’s hard to it’s hard to organize particular. It sounds to me like you’re a pretty disciplined person. You go to class and you go to practices and all of a sudden that routine is gone. Yeah, that was. How did how did you how did you figure out what your priorities should be?


Miatta Dukuly [00:10:46] I didn’t at first. I kind of was like, okay, I’m just gonna use this time I was actually just coming off of an ankle injury. So I was like I was really looking forward to this season, the transitioning into the season, just getting back. And then I know I kinda was like, maybe I’ll take the time to heal a little bit better instead of just getting over it and trying to play it out. So I try to work with that then. I my coach, it’s in these home workouts.


Mary Rowe [00:11:18] Oh, my God. Did you do them?


Miatta Dukuly [00:11:20] No, no. We’re like a solid two months. I didn’t do them. I’m not going to. I want to go. I suppose I want to be young. But then I didn’t.


Mary Rowe [00:11:30] It’s really hard. And it must have been hard on your body because you’re used to being really physically active. So all of a sudden, you know, I don’t know. I don’t know how many people you live with, but I bet it was tricky for the people who live with who were saying, well, we’re used to you being really active and tired at the end of the day. But no, you’re still right. Did you have a lot of energy, the jet, to kind of get rid of somehow?


Miatta Dukuly [00:11:50] Yes, but I didn’t really want to go outside. No. So I’ve kind of just. Was inside really doing anything? And I would try to my mom would try to help me keep active by giving me, like, things that work your brain and mind and just try to get that going instead.


Mary Rowe [00:12:10] That was.  a good idea. Did that work? Yeah. Did your brain and your brain survive? You still sound pretty good.


Miatta Dukuly [00:12:17] Yeah, I did.


Mary Rowe [00:12:19] And then you got a job.


Miatta Dukuly [00:12:21] Yeah, I was actually looking for one before school started. The pandemic came, you know, it’s kind of like, OK, well, everything that I had a chance at is kind of paused. So I decided to channel my energy into that. I was like, OK, well, I can create a beauty out of this. I’m going to try to look for places and see how they’re modifying. And so my first thought was just anything. And then I decided I was like, ok well, what makes the most sense? What what’s still open? And would probably need some people. And I was thinking the restaurant injury is always like finding ways to modify this to open. And so I decided to target that. And then once on things, I’m opening up a little bit more. It fell into place.


Mary Rowe [00:13:05] So that got you a routine back. I mean, these are you know, we’re trying to make sure we learn as much as we possibly can from this kind of extraordinary experience and part of what you’re doing. Both of you were telling me it sounds like in Joe’s case, no routine worked OK for him because he was ready to be creative and stay up all night. But for you Miata, it was better, in fact, to have a better routine. Got you back on track betting. OK. Let’s go to Zoe. Zoe, you’re in beautiful downtown Toronto. And I know for a fact that you and your dad have been watching some city talks because I see on the chat that you sometimes check in. So I don’t even watch the city talks. But that. Tell me what else. Tell me, first of all, where are you at school and all that kind of thing. And what have you been doing to kind of cool.


Zoë Bennett [00:13:48] So when it all started, we were doing online classes.


Mary Rowe [00:13:52] What grade are you in, Zoe?


Zoë Bennett [00:13:54] I’m going into grade seven.


Mary Rowe [00:13:56] OK, so you’re doing online. Carry on. Yeah.


Zoë Bennett [00:14:00] It was pretty hard since we cut and actually work in partners like we usually do or in groups, we can do any projects much. When it all started, I thought it was really cool, like an extra vacation. But then when it got longer and longer, I just it was so boring. There is nothing to do. It’s different now since some places are open. So there is more to do. But when I started, it wasn’t it wasn’t fun. No, no. I really had a hard time with. I do dance. So I did it. It was on Zoom, but it’s really different than going to the studio. It’s also hard that I can’t really see my friends. We do distance visits, but it’s harder because we can’t touch. We can’t. We have to say six feet apart.


Mary Rowe [00:15:06] So, yeah, that’s weird, isn’t it? So so I know something that I haven’t thought about, is that how much of your work is group work? And even if you’re going into grade seven or you’re in grade seven now going to grade school. So in grade six, you’re doing lots of group work. Yeah. So how. And did they try to set you up in Zoom room to.


Zoë Bennett [00:15:25] Try to do different rounds for groups? But it didn’t work. It didn’t work. Yeah. We couldn’t really communicate with each other.


Mary Rowe [00:15:33] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, the technology is pretty good, but it’s not perfect, is it. I mean, I guess it’s gonna be interesting to see if this is going to push technology more quickly so that that that idea works. And then in terms of of dance, what kind of dance do you do?


Zoë Bennett [00:15:47] I do everything to ballet to tap. I do. I do a lot. You do it. Oh, yeah.


Mary Rowe [00:15:54] You and Joe need to get together. We’ll get hip hop, ballet and tap going and then we’ll get a little thing going on across Canada. Zoom Dance Club. And so now at over time, because we’ve been at it for so long. What would you say has sort of helped you the most in terms of getting a bit back on track?


Zoë Bennett [00:16:14] I would say it’s my brother. He does a lot with me. It’s a schedule. And we we spend time. We spend a lot of time together. Like, we go to the park together. We made the schedule that we go to the park in the afternoon. And when it’s raining, we go on a walk before me. On weekends, we go to the beach sometimes.


Mary Rowe [00:16:38] That’s nice. It’s fun. How how old is your brother? He’s older or younger. He’s not. He’s nine. So he’s younger than you.


Zoë Bennett [00:16:45] Yeah.


Mary Rowe [00:16:46] Oh, that’s good. So you’ve been a good big sister. Yeah. Good for you. So you’ve kind of found a way to kind of make your own sort of fun.


Zoë Bennett [00:16:53] Yeah. Yeah. Arts and crafts to do.


Mary Rowe [00:16:57] And you did organize that yourself, so.


Zoë Bennett [00:17:00] Well, yeah, my dad’s working in the attic and my mom’s a nurse, so she’s at work all the time.


Mary Rowe [00:17:06] Right. But between you all, you kind of figured out. Did you guys notice we’re getting some questions in the chat here of all three of you. Did you notice did this when the schools were still giving you work to do? Did they did they actually reassign work? Did you find the teachers were able to be responsive and flexible or it sounds like in all three? Well, it sounds like in all three cases you kind of went your own way. But did you notice that the teachers were were trying to do different things? He wants to answer that one.


Joe Salmon [00:17:35] Yeah, I can talk about that. Yeah, for sure. I had some teachers. Well, like a lot of my classes, the, um, the in-person component is really important. So, like, for example, I take a bunch of theater classes and a bunch of literature classes that are a lot of in-person work and discussion. And like you were saying earlier, the technology isn’t really the area and the access to technology was so varied that we couldn’t really have that element. And so I would say a couple of my classes really just kind of dropped off my schedule because it didn’t draw that weren’t really exciting or anything, because there wasn’t like any reasonable work for everyone.


Mary Rowe [00:18:15] I wonder if there are subject matter, subject areas that are better, you know? So if we go into play, if we go into times like this again, will we say, you know what, we can do math? I don’t know. Like I know we can’t do science because you can’t do a lab. But does anybody of the three of you did any of you have an experience where there was a certain kind of school work that you could do and you did you notice anything, Miatta, anything you could do on specifically my English class?


Miatta Dukuly [00:18:41] Was it like the only thing those were effective is that we were reading a play and a book and she just had us take copies of the book home. Our class is fairly small, so we could do that. And then the play, we read it online together using otherwise, like we could just just send in essays and all that. And it wasn’t really affected, really. It just. Yeah.


Mary Rowe [00:19:09] And what about equipment? Did you. You know, I know that there are lots of kids that don’t necessarily have iPods or equipment like that. Where did you guys have the equipment you need or did you needed or did the school get it too? And also among your friends, did you notice did everybody pretty much have what they needed or did you have any friends who did not have wireless and did not have computers? And what happens in those situations? So why did you notice that any of your friends that did they are off.


Zoë Bennett [00:19:36] My friends have the technology to do the school work. OK, yes.


Mary Rowe [00:19:41] And was there was there a particular course that you thought you were able to do that worked OK?


Zoë Bennett [00:19:46] Yeah, I would say English as well.


Mary Rowe [00:19:48] So it’s interesting. Boy, maybe when this happens again, we’re gonna have to bone up on our English. We’re gonna say, OK, it’s gonna be all about English. That’ll make people nervous. OK. So anything let me just talk now to the two J’s, the two older guys here that are on this call. I want to hear from them. They’ve been looking at important situations, not just individuals, but what’s going on in bigger areas. And so, Jordan, let’s go to you if we can tell us a little bit about the program that you run. We don’t know what the acronym is, COVID and the Community Education Department Association here in Winnipeg. I know with that beautiful picture behind you. And Jordan, tell us about you and what you’ve been doing, and then we’ll go to Josh is going to talk to us about Maximon said. Go ahead, Jordan.


Jordan Bighorn [00:20:31] Thank you and good morning or good afternoon. I feel that like that Truman show line good morning. Good evening. Whatever ever people are in the country, right?


Mary Rowe [00:20:39] It’s kind of like that. Yeah.


Jordan Bighorn [00:20:42] So this behind me and. And I guess that’s what Zoom do you get the virtual backgrounds. You can really be anywhere. Is our building. That’s kind of an interesting story unto itself. Community development. So CEDA does stand for Community Education Development Association. That’s been in Winnipeg here for 40 years. Funded by the United Way of Winnipeg. And we were run the local site for the Pathways to Education Program, which is a nationwide program that provides afterschool tutoring supports for students primarily as an understanding of walking with student graduation. There’s lots of different barriers that all students face, and all those barriers become higher and more challenging and complex. When you start to layer on other challenges like poverty, housing insecurity, food insecurity and from the Winnipeg side, when it was originally put here, it was thought that working with Canada is probably the highest urban concentration of Indigenous young people, that this program would be best suited to grow and adapt and design itself around meeting a particular need that Indigenous students face. As we know across the country, so much has been going on over the past decade or so, particularly around reconciliation. So this after school support in this building behind us is really quite a safe space, a learning space and a second home for a lot of young people that can come by and receive all kinds of support for it, not the least of which is academic.


Mary Rowe [00:22:27]  do you want to just talk a bit about pathways in the model Chardon? Because not everyone may be familiar with it. It’s a tutoring and support program. Mentoring program started it. I think it started in the US and then it was in Toronto, announced in cities across the country. But it is dependent, is it not, on actually people getting together? Right.


Jordan Bighorn [00:22:44] It really is. Absolutely it. And that’s great to a point of what has occurred with us since the pandemic came on full bore. The idea of advocacy of social support, tutoring with financial support, as all the four core pillars of the program has to do with relationship. A lot of times students that access the program are there because schools, of course, can do it all. And so sometimes those things missing for a student on their journey. And then, as we know, there are other challenges as schools present trying to manage maybe 600 to a thousand students at a time. And so folks can find a really healthy social space to also grow that emotional, that spiritual, that mental side that a textbook might not provide. So when they come to our site and have a hot meal at five thirty every day, when they see the same tutor that’s pretty close to their age, just in university, a lot of them that would have come right out of the program themselves as alumni. That kind of familiarity continues to reinforce that this journey is for everybody. They have a right to education. They have all the rights to access, and it just takes them extra supports to, again, remove some of those barriers that systemically can get in place that keep people where they are, even though their dreams and ideas should give them access to whatever they want to do.


Mary Rowe [00:24:21] It’s interesting, this notion of rights. You know, we’ve been talking about all this cold, it’s been like a particle accelerator. People City talkers will be tired of me referring it to this way. But the idea that there are preexisting conditions that challenge just before COVID, and then COVID came and now, everything that was troubling and not quite right is now even worse. And one of the things that we’re identifying, I think, is that people have that there, isn’t it? You have an entitlement. You have an entitlement to a home, for instance. And so next week, all of our city talks are going to be about the right to home. And you’re talking about something very profound, the right to education. And I think people could say you have a right to public safety and that cold, it has questions. Put all those things into into question. OK. Josh, let’s talk to you, if we can, about Maximum city. Can you talk to us about the work of Maximum City generally? I know you’re in Toronto today, but also particularly about the piece of work that you undertook most recently. And it’s just been really so nice to see and let us know. Mary, listen for one hundred.


Josh Fullan [00:25:20] Hi, everyone. It’s great to be part of this conversation with teens as participants rather than a conversation on behalf of kids and teens, which a lot of those conversations are happening. So kudos to CUI for co presenting with us on this. I work for Maximum City, which is an engagement, an education company based in Toronto, and we are in the social cohesion business. So everything we do tries to build some connective tissue between people and places, people and people across differences. And in the month of May, we conducted a national study of Canadian kids and teens to sort of capture the impact of cozad closures and mobility restrictions on their daily lives. It was really a 360 degree view of behaviors, experiences, opinions, wellbeing, outcomes, so that we could sort of capture what was happening and then presented to decision makers and habit and form a strong recovery. And all of the things that our young panelists are saying are sort of affirming what we heard from the study there. I would say the impacts from covered are varied. Some of them are positive, some of them are negative, and they’re different across regions or different in big cities or different in small cities. But the data sort of organizes itself into three groups. One group is doing fine. You know, they’re bored like so he said maybe they’re missing friends, but they’re doing OK. One group is actually thriving. So these are kids who are self-motivated. I’ve found passion projects for enjoying quality family time like we talked about and maybe are feeling less stressed at school. But there’s another group that’s struggling and that’s the group I think we really need to be concerned about. And they are showing less physical activity, less time outside, more time with technology, less social connection and less engaging school. So we see that confluence of five factors raise some pretty serious alarm bells. And I think we need to be careful about how we prepare a reopening and a recovery for those folks.


Mary Rowe [00:27:31] I mean, again, this is a tough topic because it’s not everyone’s experience is the same. I lived in New York for six years before I came back to Toronto and closing the schools in New York City was an extremely difficult decision that they had to make. They knew that a quarter of the kids that are in school in New York rely on school lunch programs and breakfast programs. That’s the meal. That’s the food they get for the day because they’re coming from low income families and there’s no other food. So when you close those schools, all of a sudden those kids don’t have anything to eat. And I think we have we have lots of situations like that across the country. So as some of you were suggesting, Miatta, you were saying you’ve got all you know, you’re used to sort of athletic activity and all the extracurricular activity. And so he was saying the same thing about group work, that the disruption to young people’s lives of removing there, they’re most probably their second most important activity, a place in their lives, their their home being one and then the second being school. So it’s a tricky thing to us. When you were looking at the data, were you able to see differences, stark differences across the country, for instance, where some cities, some some neighborhoods better than others? And could you see what the defining characteristics were about why some did better than others?


Josh Fullan [00:28:49] We’re still doing the stratification analysis, but I can tell you that the impacts are worse in big cities on kids. So those five negative factors, outcomes that I just described. Four of the five are worse than a big city like front of the school part. Sort of doesn’t really matter where you are. School can be engaging in Toronto or it could be engaging. And I know it’s a large city. The large cities are showing worse outcomes for things like time outside, being afraid to go outside. Less physical activity. Screen time is up across the country. But there’s other factors. And as urbanists, we I think we we want to believe that density isn’t playing in a pernicious or negative role in the pandemic. But we are seeing some negative rules around that city and particularly built form like the kind of neighborhood you live in. And do you have a park nearby? Can you get to that park? Is the playground open? I mean, if we’re in July now and playgrounds in Toronto are still floats, there’s a bit of a patchwork across the country in terms of whether playgrounds are closed. But if you have a backyard or a balcony and the playground down the street is closed, where are you spending your time outside? Where are getting your physical activity?


Mary Rowe [00:30:01] Well, it sounds like Zoë was lucky that she and her brother have. You have a park near you. Do you, Zoë?


Zoë Bennett [00:30:08] We go to the park, but we don’t go on the playground like we have a picnic. We play our games.


Mary Rowe [00:30:16] Are you are you ready for that playground to open? Like, are you kind of kind of done with waiting to be. .


Zoë Bennett [00:30:20] I don’t I personally don’t play on the playground, but I know my brother really likes playing with his friends sometimes.


Mary Rowe [00:30:28] So, you know, I think one of the challenges to our designer colleagues, many of whom come on to city talk, you know, people that are about learning to sign have to start designing playgrounds that won’t have to be close like this, that they could be safer in the in that they wouldn’t that there would be some way that you could. I don’t know how how you do it, but designers are smart. They’ll figure out a way that you can use a playground in a socially distant, safe way.


Mary Rowe [00:30:51] What about you? Miatta, did you actually go outside much? You actually you didn’t. Did you know why didn’t you go outside?


Miatta Dukuly [00:30:59] Because I didn’t want to. I just didn’t want to go outside. I was just like, whoa, I know. Getting dressed and like going outside. And then it was kind of outside is kind of different now. It’s just it’s been quiet. It’s I also don’t have I mean, we have parks near me, but my little sister, I have a younger sister. She really she we usually take it, we try to take it for walks. So that’s when I would go outside if you have mostly for her instead of me. I was like, okay, well, she’s struggling with this whole outside thing. She’s a very active kid. So I go outside to, like, come with her and help her out a little bit or play tag or just something like that. What if it was up to me? I wouldn’t go outside, but my mom encouraged me to go outside with my sisters.


Mary Rowe [00:31:54] So how old is your sister?


Miatta Dukuly [00:31:58] My youngest sister is seven and my oldest is interesting is 21.


Mary Rowe [00:32:03] Oh, so you’re in the middle.


Miatta Dukuly [00:32:04] Yeah.


Mary Rowe [00:32:05] Right. Yes. I had a mother who who would say whenever it was a sunny day. This is long, you know, I’m old. So this is before obviously there was no pandemic. But I can hear my mother’s voice even now say what are you girls doing inside on such a beautiful day? So there was always I was raised in London, Ontario, and we were always being encouraged to go outside. But one of the things Josh is mentioning is that. And, you know, you’re sort of echoing it is that not everybody feels necessarily comfortable outside. Maybe they don’t feel safe outside. Maybe there’s not much to do outside. Joe, do you go inside?


Joe Salmon [00:32:40] I do. I’ve actually been going outside more. Yeah. Personally, like, I know everyone’s families are different in regards to whether or not they’re allowed out. But in my scenario, my folks weren’t super strict about it. They were like, as long as you don’t take public transit and you avoid high density areas and wear a mask, you’re free to do what you want. And so one of the really cool side effects for me was that I started walking everywhere and I’m seeing a lot more of the city than I would have otherwise.


Mary Rowe [00:33:10] Wow. You just you and you felt safe walking outside.


Joe Salmon [00:33:13] I’m wearing a mask.


Mary Rowe [00:33:15] Oh, yeah. I was there then. Yeah. Oh, so you carried hand sanitizer and you wore a mask. Boy, you’re good. But also you didn’t feel you felt safe in terms of other people on the street. You didn’t feel nervous.


Joe Salmon [00:33:27] Not really. I mean, everyone kind of moves to the other side, right? Yeah. Make about six feet happen. So it was OK.


Mary Rowe [00:33:35] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I’m interested from your perspectives, the three of you, as we sort of imagine what changes we need to make that should stay permanent, for instance. What do you think about having more streets that are closed to traffic? So they’re being called different things across the country. They’re being called quiet streets or safe streets. Has that been helpful to you? Did you. Have you been walking on those streets that have been closed to traffic? And you think that’s something that we should try to do more of or if you don’t really pay much attention. So we have to use any of those streets?


Zoë Bennett [00:34:08] I haven’t yet, but I know my dad and my brother, they go on weekends down to. Leslie, one down where it’s closed for the bikers and. When people walk, right? Run. So I haven’t gone there yet.


Mary Rowe [00:34:32] Yeah. And I know and I know what your dad does for a living. So he. In that weeks, we’re screwed. And what about you? Do you think that. Have you noticed in Winnipeg, have they actually been closing streets and holding streets? I’m actually not sure if we frozen like frozen.


Miatta Dukuly [00:34:58] I haven’t noticed. But no, not really. I mean, it’s generally quiet because I live in, like guys here. I don’t know.


Mary Rowe [00:35:12] Can you hear me?


Zoë Bennett [00:35:14]  can hear you but you’re frozen.


Mary Rowe [00:35:17] Yes. Sorry about that. I’m looking beautiful frozen limes, sir.


Miatta Dukuly [00:35:25] Yeah, I was. I know it’s kind of quieter where I am. Well, right now it’s construction, but because it’s in the middle of the city and usually it’s pretty busy all the time. So now it’s a little less busy, I’d say. It’s picking up again, I have a nose in questions.


Mary Rowe [00:35:47] Hi, sorry, did you answer? Did you say something fabulous while I was gone?


Miatta Dukuly [00:35:52] I think so. Can you say it again, sir, sorry, the attacks that you know that streets. What do you think about streets?


Miatta Dukuly [00:35:58] I think they’re fine. I just haven’t noticed any of them. It’s just that because I live kind of in the middle of the pack, it’s generally busier. Well, it’s not as busy as it used to be. So I guess you could say it’s quieter in a certain kind of time of day where it usually is busier. You know, when it is busy, it’s not that loud.


Mary Rowe [00:36:18] So. Right. Right. So I want to talk about something that everybody is worried about. And I’m interested what your perspective is on this. I want to get a sense of what you think it should look like in the fall. Should you be coming back? We know some provincial governments have decided that schools are going to comeback’s. Should you be coming back? And what do you think the classroom should look like and what are your concerns? So, Joe, you’re off to university. What’s your view of that? What do you what are you thinking it’s going to be like? Where are you going?


Joe Salmon [00:36:48] I’m going to UBC.


Mary Rowe [00:36:50] So you’re and are you still living at home or are you going gonna go into residents or what?


Joe Salmon [00:36:53] Planning on moving into residents. But I’m going to stay home for the first term because it’s all in line for me.


Mary Rowe [00:36:57] I was going to say, was it all online? So they’ve already decided. I mean, other residence is even open. They’re probably not.


Joe Salmon [00:37:02] They are. It’s interesting what they’re doing. They’re just making them available to the people who need them because there are some programs that have in-person components. But from what I’ve heard, the experience is pretty stripped down and it’s not really from where I’d want to be right now anyway.


Mary Rowe [00:37:17] Yeah. That’s the dilemma. I’m Rick Merrills. Ask think. Asking the panelists to tell us who the panelists are really always post connections to all the panelists at the top of the charts. So have a look. And they introduced themselves in the beginning, but go up to the top and you’ll see links for each of them. Three. You didn’t send them to old guys. It was me. So that’s your view? Joe, it’s gonna be online in the fall. And then I. What do you think about going into the new year? We’ll be ready to go into classic if things are.


Joe Salmon [00:37:44] I hope so, yeah. It’s the dream, but I don’t know. I think it’s too early to tell right now. Yeah.


Mary Rowe [00:37:51] And what do you think, art history?


Joe Salmon [00:37:53] Yeah, hopefully.


Mary Rowe [00:37:55] I mean, art history, at least visually, right? It’s not like you. Yeah, I know.


Mary Rowe [00:38:01] For the courses I’m taking the art history course itself. There’s one big lecture and then a bunch of smaller discussion groups. So I’m hoping for a second term. It’ll be something like the lecture will stay online since it’s such a big group. Then we’ll be able to have small in-person discussions.


Mary Rowe [00:38:16] Hope so, yeah. Well, that’ll be interesting. Yeah. Miatta, What about you? You’re going into twelve I guess.


Miatta Dukuly [00:38:23] Grade eleven.


Mary Rowe [00:38:23] I’m sorry. I just. I just accelerated you. I skipped your grade. You’re going into eleven. OK. How do you feel about going. How do you feel about school. They told you yet whether the classes are going to be happening or not happening in person.


Miatta Dukuly [00:38:37] I think in person. Is it because at the end of last month, they actually had us go to school and like, return everything? It’s just really different. This. Hand sanitizer everywhere. And the hallway is one way. So if you pass your class, you go all the way around and all the doors are open to avoid touching like doorknobs and stuff. And when we were in classes, they had to know who is in the class so they can monitor and space it out. And it was one person per table. Well, I don’t know how that’s going to work because some classes of tables, some of desks, we were able to do that just kind of as a final goodbye. So I imagine if we can do that, they’re looking for an imposition. I think it could continue. Zoom.


Mary Rowe [00:39:27] So it’s so weird. You you miss all these events. You know, kids miss graduations. You miss basketball championships. I mean, I it’s like the Olympics being canceled, these big, big life events. And how do you actually come them but come back to them? This is going to be a big thing. But I’m interested they brought you back to bring equipment back. So you’ve had a bit of. You’ve had a bit of a taste of what it would be like. I mean, I keep wondering why we’re not putting classrooms outside. Why wouldn’t we just put tents up and raise the sides and then be like big winning parties anyway? And so what do you think? How are you feeling about going back to school? I feel like for you.


Zoë Bennett [00:40:03] Well, we are supposed to be going back to school in the fall. OK. I don’t really know how it’s going to work the past year. I had 30 kids in my class. And there’s all the causes are giant lepers, yeah, kids in them. So I don’t really know how we’re gonna be spacing it out. Yeah.


Mary Rowe [00:40:24] I mean, this is going to be raising a really important point. There are lots of advocates that would say that those classes were too big, that there were, you know, the we we’d somehow forgotten that we need a different kind of ratio. And I bet Jordan wants to say something about this, because the Pathways to education model is all about providing direct mentoring. So so I’m just going to go to him and ask him about that, about can do do we imagine that class size could actually be made smaller? Jordan, what do you think?


Jordan Bighorn [00:40:51] A big clash. And just to quickly touch on something Miatta said earlier about something as visceral as the feeling that outside is different. Outside is different. And I think, as you pointed to marry education must be different. We know a lot of social things that are happening around us have forced changes that must happen. And so I think way in Manitoba, we’re waiting until probably mid August where the government will it will give us which scenario we’re gonna go with. We’ve been fortunate to also have somewhat lower numbers in that sense, but that we we need to expect that those cases will come about again in the fall. So there is any in our area I know there was questions about tech, about technology, too. We know where for a fact that a lot of the families that we work with immediately felt that disconnect from that physical social engagement. The outlets that young people had to see, a loving face and encouraging face to be able to give their parents some space as well. If we have parents that have to work all day, child centers were closed for a while. So that had that disruption. So when it comes to the fall, we know for a fact that there will be less transportation and less efforts to get kids to school. Never mind that they’ll be open. So we’re trying to position ourselves to be a hub around schools that perhaps could be opened to fill gaps that students could come into with all precautions in place, with the priority to have avenues to have at least some face to face time. We do anticipate that there will be still a need for technology. There will be need for online engagement if you can attend school because you’re symptomatic with you know, there might not be a shutdown. There could be that in place. So there has to be. Now, almost to your point, Mary. You raise the walls of the school and there has to be avenues to keep people connected with the objective of trying to get face to face somehow.


Mary Rowe [00:42:50] Maybe that’s a good metaphor. We had to raise the walls of the school. We’ve got to make schools somehow more porous and get to say, what do you think, Josh? I’m sure you’re thinking, I’m sorry about the Internet connection being so shaky. We’re having major weather here in Toronto, and I don’t know if that’s affecting it or just my bandwidth. Josh, what are you thinking in terms of the kinds of recommendations that you’re going to want to extract as we go forward?


Josh Fullan [00:43:11] Two main thoughts, two main messages around us. And at least in Ontario, everyone and their dog now has a school real plan because the government hasn’t come up with a coherent plan. So civil society is sort of filling the void. And coming up with plans, and some of them are quite brilliant. Some of them have for classrooms, unique based learning in the message or the drum that I’ve been reading is twofold. One is listen to experts and data and the experts include kids. So the credential of your limited experience, that’s a seat at the table. Listen to them in terms of what is working and what isn’t working in the emerging learning models. And the second one, the second pieces make the community the classroom full. And I don’t mean that in just a figuratively. I mean a literal. They go out into the community, discover authentic and groove based projects that you can do if you are a community group, call the school and offer something to them, offered to help them, because I think that is the way forward to make school a more meaningful for kids and also safer in the fall. We won last summer and we can’t just leave this up to schools. This is a societal responsibility that we all have to pull on the same right off to pull in the same war. Everyone has to pitch in and parents are at their wit’s end. They can’t do any more. And if we don’t invest in preventative strategies, we’re gonna pay the consequences later.


Mary Rowe [00:44:37] Well, I was just going to say you heard it here first. I mean, I think, as you say, is this one of the things that we have to come out of committed to is that everyone has to see a school and the education that’s provided in it as our joint responsibility, that it’s not just up to the school board or the teachers. I’ve been thinking about it just in terms of space that, you know, when communities need resources during a pandemic, if there had been a way to keep schools open in a safe way, somebody, Patricia Lewis, I think, or someone else on the CHATBOX has been saying, couldn’t schools be be organized for food distribution like libraries, work or resource? Or if you if you’re a family, what about access to supports that technical supports? And you need if you need an iPad or whatever? Couldn’t the schools have been somehow made more safe that you could have gone in there or just had some interaction, even if it was socially distanced with another human being? It’s kind of schools as community hubs. I know lots of people and saying it for years. That is just now our chance to do it. And I mean, it’s our house. OK, well then I’m interested. What? As we’ve only got a few more minutes, I want to ask Joe, Miatte and Zoë their thoughts about if you really have a dream, a dream of what you want school to be like when you when you come back from. We’ll meet when we come through. This extraordinary period. What would you really love your school? Do you want to? What do you think about? Frozen again.


Canadian Urban Institute [00:46:14] Well, we could you tell us why? Why don’t we start with Zoë. Tell us what you would like your school situation to look like when you return. We’ll start with Zoë.


Zoë Bennett [00:46:24] I would feel when I return, I’d. I really like. I don’t really I don’t know. I haven’t thought of this like. I have not thought of this.


Mary Rowe [00:46:47] Just as well, Zoë, because I went frozen, so it was probably the wrong question to ask you. That was God saying that’s a dumb question, Mary. Don’t ask that one. Let me try. Let me try something else. Have you thought about if classes were to get smaller? Right. Because you were already telling me that 30 was too many if classes were to get smaller. Does the class have to happen in the school?


Zoë Bennett [00:47:09] It doesn’t. It could.


Mary Rowe [00:47:11] Where else could it happen?


Zoë Bennett [00:47:12] It could be in parks. They could have. In libraries. They could have them all around the city if they’re spaced out. It could be anywhere. Doesn’t have to be in the school.


Mary Rowe [00:47:29] Isn’t that an interesting idea? Maybe we start to do these differently. Maybe we start to offer schools, school schooling and education differently. What about you, Miatta? What would that feel like in Winnipeg if you really imagine a fabulous experience? What would you like to see? Obviously, you want to be a drag and field and basketball. I get that.


Miatta Dukuly [00:47:49] I find that when the classes are smaller. It’s easier to focus, although there’s a lot of people, but the teacher really focuses on, like I find that teachers are more understanding. So with when I hope when I go back to school, hopefully that environment is continued and everyone is more understanding and trying to help out more. And just because the work load compared to before the. Was definitely different. Yeah. We kind of continue that. And just give stuff that are more reasonable for the situation. And yeah, yeah.


Mary Rowe [00:48:37] I mean, you’re right. I mean, it’s like, you know, you’re probably hearing all these stories about, you know, how. Surgeries and there’s a big there’s a big, long waiting list saying with you. You guys are going to have to make gear up and you’re going to need a.


Canadian Urban Institute [00:49:02] Josh pose answer question from Mary is getting sorted there. Yeah, of course I’d be happy to.


Josh Fullan [00:49:08] I want to I want to ask the panelists about this idea of missing milestones, because it’s something we heard pretty clearly in the study is that one of the things that young people are missing are things like graduations and milestones and events. So maybe, Joe, I can start with you and you can sort of talk about any experiences you’ve had along those lines.


Joe Salmon [00:49:32] So for me, I had to miss graduation. But the way schools in Vancouver did, it was actually very well thought out. We had a short in-person afternoon where all the students took the time and came in over the course of a day to do a small walk through the hallway in our grotto and pick up a little bag with our diploma and everything. And then that evening, we had a virtual ceremony online, which was a YouTube video, but it showed all the grads and the Write-Ups in quotes. So that was actually really nice because I’ve been I got to experience the celebration with my family as opposed to being stuck in a suit on a stage for three hours.


Josh Fullan [00:50:12] So how do you think that compared to an in-person grad.


Joe Salmon [00:50:19] I was OK with it. I still got the in-person segment or part that I wanted because I just booked the Times with my friends. Right. So we still got to experience that together.


Mary Rowe [00:50:32] Thanks Josh, I have now relocated myself to see if the Internet is any more stable here. It means you’ve had a bit of background noise. And I knew Josh would step in. So we’ve only got a few more minutes left. And I think we have to think about what are the really, really, really smart takeaways we need to think about. Because it’s not this is about across the country. It’s about something fundamental called education that we and we just talked during mentioned this about the right to education. So if we start to imagine ourselves being the ones that are running the policy, I’ve heard a bit of a direction here. And I’m going to ask Josh and Jordan, just help us summarize what you think the changes should be, that you should stick. What do you think?


Jordan Bighorn [00:51:13] Sure, I could just say quickly that as as we saw and some of it, I think that the cruel irony of where we all of a sudden under these conditions acknowledge is essential workers. And these people are have been there all the time. Right. Greeting us to provide our groceries, our nurses and others teachers. And under these conditions, do they become so highlighted? So this now needs to be followed going forward by raising up these essential workers that have always been the have been doing such dedicated work because as we know, with the next pandemic or the next issue, the next challenge for the community, it’s always going to be the most vulnerable that are going to be hit the hardest. And so if schools and policies of this are designed with this experience to uplift and ensure that those folks are protected. Everything else, I think we’ll kind of wrap around that either from a technology stamp or again. How do you maintain that social connection?


Mary Rowe [00:52:14] What about you, Josh?


Josh Fullan [00:52:15] Yeah, I have one idea that I urge all schools to take on it in the fall. And that’s ask kids what they were doing that interested them when they didn’t have school. So what we heard in our study is that some kids actually like the break from school because then they can then go do things that actually interest them. So there are a lot of kids who are currently pursuing passion projects, social impact projects. Ask kids what they’ve been doing that interest them, give them an opportunity to do that for credit. And that doesn’t have to happen within the walls of the school. That can happen in the community. And a teacher could be sort of an adviser for those projects. And kids can get credit for it. And there is we haven’t met a kid who’s too young to do something like that. So I wouldn’t say this is just a high school solution. This is as a solution from K-12. And I really urge schools to take on what kids have been discovering on their own during the pandemic when they haven’t had school day from pursuing things that interest them themselves.


Mary Rowe [00:53:11] I just want to do a shout out for anybody in the academic community that we can. It would really be helpful if we could hear from academics. What have they been studying? Maximum study did a study. But I’m sure there are folks at universities across the country that are starting to track data because that may that may be what it takes for the Ministry of Education across the country to take seriously what we’re advocating for here, because we want fundamental it sounds like you’re wanting fundamental changes that we could introduce as a result of this extraordinary experience we’ve had through it.


Mary Rowe [00:53:39] OK, so last words to each of you. Joe Miatta and Zoë, if you had one thing you wanted to say to people across the country to let them know what it’s been like, what COVID it’s been like for you and what you’re what you continue to think we need to learn. What would it be? Joe, you go first.


Joe Salmon [00:53:55] Let me see. I think when it comes to developing new school strategies and what that looks like, it’s important to take into account that everyone’s a different kind of learner. Much the same way people have been trying to think about with what school looks like right now. And I know with some of the solutions proposed, like outside school, for example, I know that wouldn’t work for me at all because I would not be able to focus in the slightest. And I feel like that’s just one example of different things that would work for different people. And it’s important to keep that in mind. But I’m excited to see these changes happen.


Mary Rowe [00:54:29] So the idea is that we have to understand that nobody is saying that people learn differently and they have different styles. Miatta What about one thing that you want people to take away and understand what a young person’s experience has been through this.


Miatta Dukuly [00:54:41] That everyone kind of gets everyone kind of moves. Like you said, in different ways, guess moves differently. So like for me, I like more scheduled stuff, but also that even though we’re all in this pandemic, we’ve all found ways to somehow continue that, whether it was stopped. We’re like a couple of months. We’re all. Finding other things to keep us going. And that no matter how we find like we do it, we’re trying to look for that same sense of feeling and adaptation. So just work with us and here. So it might be different. But justs. Yeah, I wanted to see.


Mary Rowe [00:55:29] Yeah, I mean, the thing is, you know, you’ve had this. I mean, it’s been very difficult and it continues to be difficult. But you’ve also had this remarkable learning experience for you. It’s going to affect your lives forever. You’re able to tell your kids where you were in school when we had to deal with that. And you will. 20, 30 years from now, there will be things you’ll remember. And so, you know, I relearned this about myself or I learned bad about things. So what about you? What’s the one thing that you would want Camp Canada across the country to know about what you what you think your experience has taught you? What do you think?


Zoë Bennett [00:56:02] I think that they should talk to the youth more like it’s not going to help anyone if they’re not going to ask us what we want to do. They will know what we want to do if they don’t ask. So we should be in on the ideas.


Mary Rowe [00:56:20] Yeah, rather than just being told the way it’s going to be. Well, one of the challenges for all of us listening to you folks is we’ve got to now talk to the boards of education to make sure that they’re talking to you and that the ministries of education are talking or listening to you to hear what you’re imagining for the future. So I just want to thank everybody for being on this session with us. It’s really tremendously important. And we don’t plan this with this won’t be the last one. We’re going to check back in with you in a couple of months and see how it happens. I want to find out whether Joe. And so we are going to do some kind of collaborative dance thing. It’s got to be inside those, Zoë, because Joe because Joe doesn’t want to be outside. And I want to hear whether Miatta is going to carry on with their sports activities and get those routines back. Hopefully basketball and track. I did both basketball track, so I’m with you. And I hope that we’ll have opportunities to be able to do that again and that you can get your body back physically where you need to be. That kind of thing. Right. So we’ll check back with you. Jordan, have you got the last word for us?


Jordan Bighorn [00:57:15] Just that in Canada, at least, we know we’ve heard this term of reconciliation. And and as much as that has a point in history, certainly from an Indigenous standpoint with the rest of Canada, I think a pandemic that slices through all manner into our well into our very DNA, that it just shows that we have to be working together as one community, all of our institutions. And it comes down to being in the neighborhood, on the streets and in the houses of our neighbors to really know where the needs are, whether it’s food or lending a textbook or an iPod, so that you can have those opportunities that many other people enjoy. Probably without thinking about it. But this is an opportunity for us to learn from that on a context that many of us that this is the event for this generation. Much like Mary, you mentioned that you’re the older one in the group. You’ve had several in your lifetime. For me, Miaata, Zoë and Joe. This is the biggest thing, perhaps, and hopefully maybe in their lifetime. But they’ll have to manage.


Mary Rowe [00:58:18] Add resilience, say how we build community resilience. OK, Josh, last word to you. I just want to say thanks to Maximum City for doing the study and then cosponsoring it with us this session to make it possible. Last word to you, Josh.


Josh Fullan [00:58:29] Yes, my last word is something we heard in the study is that talking about your experiences helps kids feel better. So if you’re a young person and you’re listening or you’re an ally or a young person and you want to talk about what you’re going through during combat, find a trusted adult, find a friend or lots of resources to help kids. Please reach out, talk through it, because it will make you feel better in most cases.


Mary Rowe [00:58:56] I just want to finish up by saying there are lots of times during COVID when you get upset and depressed and you’re afraid and you’re uncertain. And then I have a chance to meet Joe and Miatta and Zoë, who make me know that the future is gonna be just fine because you folks have your eye on them on the ball here. You’re thinking about your communities. You’re thinking about your families and your friends and what changes we need to make. And so we really appreciate listening to you. And as Josh said, all the other folks, young people continue to talk. And we older adults will do our very best to listen and try to learn from you as best we can. So thank you to Josh and Jordan and dignity to you. Joe, Miatta and Zoë, I hope you have the remainder of the summer as things change. And I’m going to come back and check on you in a couple of months. Thanks, everybody, for coming to City Talk. Thanks for everybody that came out of the chat. Next week we’ll be back, as I said, with five days, four sessions, big week on the right to home. One of the most fundamental things that that we’ve seen during COVID is challenge is people’s capacity to have access to housing and how to deal with homelessness. So please join us right to home all next week. Thanks again, gang. Really important for us to hear your perspectives. And I hope you have a really good couple of weeks as the summer continues. Bye bye. Thank you.

Full Audience
Chatroom Transcript

Note to reader: Chat comments have been edited for ease of readability. The text has not been edited for spelling or grammar. For questions or concerns, please contact with “Chat Comments” in the subject lin

From Canadian Urban Institute: You can find transcripts and recordings of today’s and all our webinars at

12:01:29 From Canadian Urban Institute: Welcome! Folks, please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments.  

12:02:13 From Canadian Urban Institute: You can find transcripts and recordings of today’s and all our webinars at 

12:03:04 From Canadian Urban Institute: Keep the conversation going #citytalk @canurb 

12:04:15 From Camila Uriona to All panelists: Hello to all! And thank you for helping us understanding youth perspectives regarding the pandemic 

12:04:52 From Canadian Urban Institute: Folks, please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments. 

12:16:26 From Abigail Slater (SCT): Did this group see a vast difference in access to technology among their schools and friends? 

12:16:47 From Salman Faruqi: How did your assignments/school work change since the pandemic started (e.g. more open book work)? 

12:20:59 From Patricia Lewis: My son just took an online class in computer science and loved it. Learned new things every day. This wasn’t offered as a result of COVID. It was a standard summer school offering through our school board. Worked perfectly. 1.5 hours of live lectures each morning and then remainder of day to do assignments. Wish all online learning could be this effective.  

12:22:14 From Purshottama Reddy: The point of technology is important – access and also the capacity to manage the technology. Were there challenges in this regard ?  

12:31:26 From Patricia Lewis: NYTimes did a great article on a proposed plan for return to school. Have schools (and other community spaces) open for students who need access to tech or who do not have reliable internet, or for those with particular learning needs. These spaces would not be for instruction, but rather to help students access what they need. Spaces could be administered by univ/college students (or other) and could also provide spaces for counselling, etc. Perhaps this model could be used to accommodate some of the social programs or extracurricular activities that are significant part of school life for many students.  

12:31:53 From sebastien pentland-hyde to All panelists: In montreal playgrounds are open. It’s not about density it’s about policy. covid was under control in denser countries like Korea. 

12:32:32 From Canadian Urban Institute: Reminding attendees to please change your chat settings to “all panelists and attendees” so everyone can see your comments. Thanks! 

12:34:32 From Zoë Mager: Do the panelists think it would feel safer to have more parks and public space in cities for everyone to enjoy and move around outside with lots of space? 

12:35:57 From Abigail Slater (SCT): We can hear you. 

12:36:03 From Zoë Mager: We have a bunch of streets closed in Winnipeg! 1 block for cars rule. 

12:37:04 From Abigail Slater (SCT): Are students or student leaders being consulted on the (at the moment no planning)…planning process for returning to school? I wonder if middle or high school students are part of the consultation? 

12:38:42 From Caroline Poole, CUI Staff: Today’s panelists are: 


Miatta Dukuly, a 16y/o from Winnipeg, MB 


Joe Salmon, a 16y/o from Vancouver, BC 


Zoë Bennett, a 12y/o from Toronto, ON 


Jordan Bighorn from the Community Education Development Association 


Josh Fullan, Director of Maximum City 

12:40:49 From Lisa Heggum: Yes to outside classrooms! 

12:41:35 From Rick Merrill to All panelists: The Oshawa Institute of Technology held an entire term in tents. 

12:41:35 From Caroline Poole, CUI Staff: Learn more about Jordan’s and Josh’s work here: 

Jordan Bighorn:  

Josh Fullan: 

12:45:26 From Abigail Slater (SCT): As previous panels have said, we have to get women/families back to work and need childcare. 

12:45:48 From Patricia Lewis: Yes, to collective responsibility! 

12:46:42 From Kimberly Trusty: Yes to centre-ing youth ideation and decision making! 

12:47:45 From Abigail Slater (SCT): Thanks @Canurb for asking! 

12:48:08 From stephanie watt: municipalities clearly have a role to play!  

12:49:27 From Patricia Lewis: Experiential learning opportunities are everywhere in our communities. When I was a kid we used to take advantage of everything our communities offered. Somewhere along the way we moved away from this because of liability excuses, etc.  

12:49:37 From Irena Kohn: frozen 

12:49:56 From Abigail Slater (SCT): Let Mary know you are asking! It does not go silent when she does! 

12:52:10 From Canadian Urban Institute: You can find transcripts and recordings of today’s and all our webinars at 

12:52:42 From stephanie watt: I see connections to be made between the CUI, Maximum City and the CCRC (Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children)!  

12:52:51 From Canadian Urban Institute: Keep the conversation going #citytalk @canurb 

12:54:25 From Canadian Urban Institute: What did you think of today’s conversation? Help us improve our programming with a short post-webinar survey – 

12:55:17 From Josh Fullan to All panelists: sharing a link to our study: 

12:55:43 From Abigail Slater (SCT): Thank you for this conversation and for finding such a range of young leaders. 

12:55:49 From Josh Fullan to All panelists: And if you are young person who wants to tlak aobut what you are going through during covid, please do 

12:56:08 From Josh Fullan to All panelists: We have heard that talking helps folks feel better 

12:56:25 From Canadian Urban Institute to Josh Fullan(Privately): Josh, change your settings to include attendees… 

12:56:37 From Josh Fullan: trusted adult, friend, or resource like 

12:56:59 From Zoë Mager: Yes! 

12:57:13 From Abigail Slater (SCT): yes… 

12:57:30 From Canadian Urban Institute: From Josh: sharing a link to our study: 

12:58:16 From Holly Flauto: Nice talk! 

13:00:17 From Lisa Heggum: Thanks so much, all. This has been great. 

13:00:26 From Kimberly Trusty: That was so useful. Thanks all!