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Tuesday, July 7, 2020 - 9:15am

Mercy College Associate Professor Saliha Bava, Ph.D., marriage and family therapy instructor in the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, was a featured panelist in two recent webinars entitled Ethics of the Impact of Lockdown and Quarantine on Families and Couples in the Wake of COVID-19.

These are the 13th and 14th webinars in a series organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to discuss a range of ethics issues related to COVID-19, including how to navigate a public health emergency ethically and the ethical implications of re-opening school and university systems. UNESCO seeks to build peace through international cooperation in Education, the Sciences, and Culture, and works to ensure that each child and citizen has access to quality education.

The webinars drew hundreds of participants from around the world and focused on the COVID-19’s impact on families and couples. Webinar panelists consisted of family and couples therapy professionals living and working in areas impacted by COVID-19 including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, India, Mexico, Kenya, Germany and Turkey.

“Work and school have collapsed into the space where family life happens,” Bava explained. “So just like we think about economic and health implications, we have to think about the implications for families. The other thing that is important in this conversation is ethics: what is right, ‘proper,’ and fair? These questions are often navigated at the private level, but it’s also a public discourse right now. Our family lives are not just private spaces but also sites of public discourse. Social expectations play out as family stressors in addition to lockdown stress.”

In the first webinar, Bava discussed the need to re-envision the intersection between family life, work, and school. She described that individuals have been living to work since industrialization, and that this has created a “pressure cooker” situation. Bava noted that there are social expectations for everything we do, including what it means to work, to go to school, to be a parent, and to be a child. She noted that the pandemic demonstrates the need to pause re-evaluate how we want to live.

In the second webinar, the panel discussed solutions to the issues families and couples are facing due to COVID-19. Bava explained that these solutions should be comprehensive in that they address the challenges people with fewer resources are experiencing, as many conversations have aimed to tackle challenges felt by the middle class.

To view a recording of the first webinar, please click here.

To view a recording of the second webinar, please click here.