MSVU is pleased to support projects that join a global effort to understand the social, cultural, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this spring, the university awarded these five researchers internal COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants for urgent research related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Dr. Frederick FrenchFaculty of Education

Dr. French is exploring the types of stress experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis by parents of children and youth who are moderately to profoundly intellectually challenged and/or have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The study aims to gain insight into the effects of increased physical and social isolation and lack of available supports during COVID-19 restrictions. Changes in supports, accommodations, and programs and services available to families due to school and program closures from COVID-19 will be included in an online survey as part of the study.

Dr. French’s study will contribute to the knowledge about parental stress experienced by parents of children who are moderately to severely intellectually challenged and/or have ASD in times of significant stress and rapid change involving social distancing, isolation, and reduced or suspended supports.

Dr. Patricia Gouthro, Faculty of Education

Dr. Gouthro is examining experiences of the transition to online learning at universities during COVID-19 through interviews with directors, staff and instructional designers working in Teaching and Learning Centres (TLCs) at universities across Canada. Her aim is to learn more about their experiences in supporting faculty to learn how to teach online.

This research study will consider the possibilities that have been opened up for faculty to learn more about teaching in online environments, consider the challenges and barriers that persist, and the types of educational supports offered through TLCs in Canada. Dr. Gouthro aims to explore new ways for faculty to teach and engage with students and open new possibilities for student learning.

Dr. Shuyue Huang, Department of Business and Tourism and Hospitality Management

Dr. Huang is examining Canadians’ knowledge of COVID-19 and factors influencing willingness to travel in the future to help facilitate collaboration between health communication professionals and the hospitality and tourism industry to establish effective communication strategies on COVID-19 with regards to travel.

The study will investigate the impact of critical factors, such as travel motivations and perceived risk on Canadians’ future travel intentions within the next 6 and 12 months. Dr. Huang’s

research findings will contribute to knowledge of travel during health crises, as well as help rebuild confidence and increase willingness to travel, especially domestic travel among Canadians.

Dr. Christine Lackner, Department of Psychology

Dr. Lackner is examining what demographic and psychological factors predict parents’ intentions to have their family vaccinated. Once a vaccine for COVI-19 is developed, public health information will be disseminated in a targeted manner.

During this unprecedented time, there is an urgent need for research that informs medical and health policies and decision-making. Families are an important piece of the public health landscape; Dr. Lackner’s research of understanding parental intentions is of vital importance due to growing vaccine hesitancy and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about Dr. Lackner’s study.

Dr. DeNel Rehberg Sedo, Department of Communication Studies

Dr. Rehberg Sedo is examining “lockdown reading” and “sheltering readers” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her study will look at how and why individuals are reading during isolation or lockdown, and examine the roles that reading and digital literary culture play in socially isolated groups. This study aims to understand the relationships among isolated readers, authors, publishers, libraries and arts organizations before, during and after lockdown.

Dr. Rehberg Sedo will work with key local and international partners to create and implement strategies for effective and accessible reading interventions. The results of this research will be beneficial to cultural, social and economic policymakers, scholars and industry workers by generating and analyzing data on COVID-19 era reading, with a focus on populations most affected by isolation and lockdowns.