PEI

Response to respite program for students 'amazing,' school official says

Education officials say 215 students per week are taking part in respite care being offered in some schools across the Island.

Program offers routine for students and break for parents, guardians

Terri MacAdam, director of student services with the Public Schools Branch, says some children need the structure of being able to come into a school. (Submitted by Terri MacAdam)

Education officials on P.E.I. say 215 students a week are taking part in respite care being offered in some schools across the province.

The program began about a week ago for students who require the services of an educational assistant or youth care worker.

The students aren't given academic instruction. Instead, they spend time doing play-based activities with physical distancing measures in place.

It's designed to provide some routine and a break for the students as well as for parents or guardians. 

2 hours per week

Currently, the children are receiving two hours of time with those assistants every week. 

Terri MacAdam, director of student services with the Public Schools Branch, said parents, students and those providing care are enthusiastic about the program.

"Some of these children really needed the structure of being able to come into a school and see those people that they have made great relationships with," she said.

Hopes to expand

"I can't express how happy I am with the program and with the staff that have been running the program, with the principals who have been going to other schools to carry out their duties, with the packages that teachers put together for children to entertain them during the time they're there. The response across the Island has been amazing."

MacAdam hopes to see the amount of time being offered for respite care expanded if the public health requirements for cleaning and sanitation can continue to be met.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker

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