Households of P.E.I. students waiting for COVID-19 test results won't need to isolate: health officer
Dr. Morrison says contacts will be tested and directed to isolate if tests show positive
People in the same household as P.E.I. students who are waiting for a COVID-19 test result will not need to self-isolate, the province's chief public health officer says.
Dr. Heather Morrison announced the change Monday afternoon during a question and answer session with provincial school officials about the return to class.
Morrison joined the virtual session, which the provincial government live streamed on its YouTube and Facebook pages, with Education Minister Brad Trivers, regional director François Rouleau of Commission scolaire de langue française, and Norbert Carpenter, the acting director for P.E.I.'s Public Schools Branch.
Morrison said household contacts will not need to self-isolate at home while they wait for test results.
WATCH P.E.I. school officials respond to back-to-class questions:
If a result comes back positive, then all close contacts will need to be tested and directed to isolate until their test results rule out infection. If a parent comes to pick up a child to be tested, others will not need to isolate, she said.
When students and staff have symptoms similar to COVID-19, Morrison said they will be sent home and advised to get tested.
A designated area at school will be available for those who need to wait until a parent or guardian can pick them up, she said. That space will be disinfected after they leave to limit potential exposure, and the school will follow up with the Chief Public Health Office for contact tracing purposes.
If the results of a test are negative, the student may return to class when they are feeling better.
Morrison said she believes this will make it easier for families who are waiting to find out their child's test results.
Not everyone with a runny nose will be sent home, Trivers reiterated on Monday.
Riding it out
The first day of class for most schools will be on Sept. 8, however, Trivers said some schools will be staggering start dates to accommodate orientations for new students. Parents will be notified by the school.
There will be 261 buses on the roads with 14,000 stops for schools in the Public Schools Branch.
Carpenter said the division is asking for "help" to reduce ridership, although the routes will continue as normal with the addition of using masks.
Anyone who previously took the bus will continue to be picked up and does not need to reach out, he said.
Bus passes will be available for kids to get to child care, but not for recreational activities like birthday parties.
Substitute drivers and buses will be ready in case of potential exposures.