CALGARY -- On-again, off-again in-person schooling, cancelled activities and many other health restrictions have reshaped the lives of Alberta families for more than a year.

Now, the provincial government is looking into the "full scope of the psychological, social, educational and physical impacts" of the COVID-19 pandemic on Alberta's youth.

Officials say the current situation has deeply affected all Albertans and children and youth are no exception.

"Preliminary research has shown increased anxiety, mental health concerns and young kids not meeting developmental milestones. We want to know what that looks like and what we can do about it," said Minister of Children's Services Rebecca Schulz in a release.

In order to investigate the issue, the government has formed a panel to collect data and research on how the mental health and well-being of children has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The panel includes:

  • Kelly Schwartz, associate professor, School and Applied Child Psychology program, University of Calgary
  • Marcie Perdue, associate superintendent, Student Services, Chinook's Edge School Division
  • Jennifer Turner, superintendent of schools, Fort McMurray Public School Division
  • Carole Carifelle-Brzezicki, director, Indigenous Health, North, AHS
  • Dana Fulwiler, educator and well-being consultant
  • Nancy Mannix, chair, Palix Foundation

"This has been a year like no other, and understanding the long-term impacts that COVID has had on our physical, mental and emotional health is especially important for our children and youth who are in the fundamental development stages of life," said Health Minister Tyler Shandro.

"The expert panel’s summary will help us move forward to help ensure our kids have a healthy and promising future while they grow and develop."

Once that is complete, the committee will bring forward recommendations to the government in the fall.

In order to participate, Albertans can answer an online survey, which is open until July 31.