Many P.E.I. schools pushing back 1st day of class for returning students

Returning students at 19 schools within P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch won't be going back to classes on Sept. 8 to allow students that are new to those schools a day to get oriented.

Only students new to the listed schools will start on Sept. 8, to allow for orientation

New students at some schools in the Public Schools Branch will be the only pupils in class for orientation on Sept. 8. All other students in returning grades at those schools will go back Sept. 9. (Francis Ferland/CBC)

Returning students from at least 19 schools within P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch won't be going back to classes on Sept. 8 to allow students new to those schools a day to get oriented.

A mix of elementary, intermediate and high schools will now welcome returning students on Sept. 9.

Schools were asked to notify the Department of Education by the end of day on Tuesday if they planned to stagger the start times, a spokesperson for the department said in an email. The department's initial list on Wednesday included 17 schools. 

(An earlier version of this story did not include Glen Stewart Primary School because it notified the PSB of its plans on Wednesday and thus wasn't on the list received by CBC earlier in the day. More schools may be added to the list as CBC learns of their plans.)

The department spokesperson said the Commission scolaire de langue française de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard has confirmed the French board will not stagger start dates at any of its schools.

Parents, students warned of possible change

Education Minister Brad Trivers announced on Friday that schools had been given the option to stagger start dates if they wanted to hold an orientation day for new students.

Typically those orientations are held at the end of the previous school year, but those were cancelled this spring because of COVID-19.

"There were concerns again being expressed from parents, students and teachers alike that when they're making a transition to a new school … they need to have some time to see the new space to adapt to it," Trivers said Friday.

The schools with orientation for new students on Sept. 8 are:

  • Sherwood Elementary School.
  • L. M. Montgomery Elementary School.
  • Alberton Elementary School.
  • O'Leary Elementary School.
  • Bloomfield Elementary School.
  • Birchwood Intermediate School.
  • Montague Consolidated School.
  • Montague Intermediate School.
  • East Wiltshire Intermediate School.
  • Stonepark Intermediate School.
  • Summerside Intermediate School.
  • Hernewood Intermediate School.
  • M. E. Callaghan Intermediate School.
  • Three Oaks Senior High School.
  • Colonel Gray Senior High School.
  • Charlottetown Rural Senior High School.
  • Montague Regional High School.
  • Bluefield Senior High School.
  • Glen Stewart Primary School.

Positive tests in schools

The Public Schools Branch and its schools have come up with protocols in the event a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, according to a message to families posted to the branch's website Wednesday.

A sick child with a cold wipes his nose with a tissue.
Parents are being asked to pre-screen students using a checklist to determine if they are physically fit to go to school. (Chepko Danil Vitalevich/Shutterstock)

They will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

The message lists the steps to be taken, including timely communication with those impacted, working with the Chief Public Health Office to determine contact tracing and deciding if classes, cohorts or entire schools would be ordered to remain home.

The welcome back message directs families of students to look up each school's operational plans online.

"All schools have been working hard to prepare for the return to school and will provide you with specific details about your child's school," reads the message.

Sick kids

In the message, the branch also tells families to ask their children how they are feeling before leaving the house.

Schools will provide a pre-screening checklist to help parents and guardians decide if a student should go to school.

A list of questions the Public Schools Branch advises should be asked of students daily to assist in determining if they should go to school or stay home. (Public Schools Branch/

"If your child is feeling unwell and is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, we ask that they stay home and suggest you call 811 or your health-care provider for information," it reads.

Families will be notified by staff when a student in school reports feeling unwell.

"If your child is advised to get tested for COVID-19, your child must remain home until a negative result is found. Others in the household do not need to self-isolate at this time," reads the message.

"If your child is not tested for COVID-19, they should still remain home until symptoms improve and they are feeling well."

Details on the plans for each of the 62 public schools in the province can be found on the government's website.

More P.E.I. news

With files from Wayne Thibodeau and Malcolm Campbell


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