PEI

Community feedback led to mandatory masks at schools: minister

The P.E.I. government continues to try to improve its plan for reopening schools the week of Sept. 8, says Education Minister Brad Trivers.

No extra reduction in class sizes planned over COVID-19 concerns

Education Minister Brad Trivers says a shift to mandatory masks for P.E.I. students for some parts of the school day came as the result of community feedback. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

The P.E.I. government continues to work on improving its plan for reopening schools next week, says Education Minister Brad Trivers.

On Friday afternoon, the province released an updated plan that would make mask-wearing mandatory on school buses, during class changes, and during emergency procedures such as fire drills. It had previously only been strongly recommended in those situations.

Trivers said the change did not stem from any new information regarding mask wearing.

"It's more about a level of comfort from people and making sure we're as safe as possible," Trivers told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier on Monday. "We heard feedback from people and we listened."

There are no plans currently to decrease class sizes to make physical distancing easier, said Trivers. He said making classes smaller has been an ongoing project for several years.

"We're going forward with status quo when it comes to the class sizes, trying to keep them as small as possible," he said.

The size of classes will depend on the space available and the subject being taught, he said.

Starting day not necessarily Tuesday

Friday's news release also said schools will be given the option to stagger the start of classes.

Trivers said all schools will be open Sept. 8 as announced, but he said some will choose to hold orientation days that first day for incoming students who are new to the school.

That will mean regular classes will not start until Sept. 9 for other students attending a school.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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