PEI

School's out on P.E.I. for at least 2 more weeks due to COVID-19. Here's what the province is planning

Under a public health emergency due to COVID-19, schools across the Island are closed and won't reopen until at least April 6. What are the province's plans for education?

P.E.I. student loans on pause for 6 months

The online resources the Public Schools Branch is posting for home learing are 'optional,' said P.E.I. Education Minister Brad Trivers. (Luke MacGregor/Reuters)

P.E.I. students were supposed to be returning to school on Monday after the March break.

But under a public health emergency due to COVID-19, schools across the Island are closed and won't reopen until at least April 6.

"I don't think we're going to be able to roll anything out on Monday," Premier Dennis King told CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin Friday afternoon, adding the Department of Education is still trying to figure out "possible scenarios."

"Monday would probably be too big of a goal to have set," to have online learning up and running, he said. 

"With the challenges we face in many parts of the province with our broadband and with our internet service, e-learning could be a bit of challenge." 

'Optional' resources to use at home

In a news briefing Friday at 5 p.m., Education Minister Brad Trivers had an update.

"We will be providing ongoing learning opportunities for students while they are at home," he said. 

Education Minister Brad Trivers said department officials are now working on curriculum-based educational materials and supports in case school closures are extended past April 3. (Rick Gobbs/CBC)
 

What Trivers called "educational activities" will be posted Monday on the Public Schools Branch and the French school board's websites for parents and students to use at home, and will focus on three areas: health and well-being, literacy and math. 

"They are a way to keep your children active during isolation, while also practicing skills learned in school," Trivers said, noting students will not be tested or graded on these activities. 

He also noted many parents are working from home due to the pandemic and do not have time to teach their children, so using the resources is "optional."

Officials will work on developing curriculum-based learning over the next two weeks to roll out if schools do not open April 6, he said. Those supports will begin with Grade 12 students so they can graduate, he said. 

The department has also been working with post-secondary institutions on entrance requirements for graduates. 

"Grade 12 students can be assured the opportunity to fulfil their high school requirements will not be compromised due to COVID-19," Trivers said.

UPEI's campus was quiet Friday as students remained at home. Alternative course delivery begins Monday. (Brian McInnis/CBC)

Trivers was asked how teachers also staying at home would be able to teach online.

"We realize not all teachers will be able to," he said. "We are asking teachers and department staff to connect with students in the best way they can to make sure that learning continues .... online learning is only one way to do that."

Conference calls or delivering assignments to homes might be some of those alternate ways, Trivers said. 

What about UPEI and Holland College students? 

Trivers also announced that P.E.I. is putting student loans on pause, as the federal government already has. That pause will start March 30, he said, and Island students will not have to apply for the repayment pause. 

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More from CBC P.E.I.

About the Author

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a bachelor of journalism (honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email sara.fraser@cbc.ca

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