Faced with the global emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, U of T Philosophy alumnus Andrew Potter (PhD, 2000) decided to taken action: on March 23, 2020, the former journalist and current associate professor at McGill University’s Max Bell School of Public Policy launched the first issue of Policy for Pandemics, a daily blog/newsletter dedicated to the various public policy challenges the crisis has brought to the fore.
In collaboration with his two co-editors, Charlotte Reboul and Paisley Sim, he and several guest contributors have so far tackled questions of privacy during these unprecedented times, the possibility of permanent changes to social policy, the pandemic’s looming impact on Indigenous communities, ways of navigating the surrounding onslaught of (frequently uncertain and sometimes inaccurate) information, economic consequences, and more. The publication has also shone a spotlight on various countries’ responses to the developments, including those of Hong Kong, Germany, Jordan, and the United Kingdom.
The blog, Potter says on the site, attempts “to provide short, accessible briefings on as many of the relevant policy challenges as possible.” But he also recognizes readers’ need for lighthearted distractions as they adjust to the new realities of quarantine and social distancing. So each Policy for Pandemics post, besides a few links to other pertinent news items, also includes recipes, music suggestions, and random facts. You might just come out of the current lockdown not only with a better understanding of the intricacies of public policy but also with the ability to make an origami dinosaur (a skill featured at the bottom of the entry for April 9, 2020)!