PEI

P.E.I. releases more information about the return to school on Monday

The P.E.I. Department of Education has released a list of schools that will be ready for students Monday, which schools still uncertain, and which will definitely be closed because of damage from post-tropical storm Fiona.

There is still a long list of schools where the status is uncertain

Various shots of Fiona damage (Shane Hennessey/CBC)

CBC P.E.I. continues to focus on the aftermath of Fiona. If your data or internet is limited, click here for the CBC Lite version of the P.E.I. site.

The P.E.I. Department of Education has released more information about which schools will reopen on Monday and which still need to be assessed following damage from post-tropical storm Fiona.

The department has established a web page that is being updated twice daily — at noon and 5 p.m. — as new information becomes available about schools. You can find it here.

"Education and being in the classroom is so important for our students," said Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Natalie Jameson during a media briefing Thursday afternoon.

"Safety continues to be our priority and we have had structural engineers evaluating our damaged buildings and fire inspectors assessing all of our schools."

Cardigan Consolidated School will likely take several weeks to repair, Jameson said, and students are being relocated to a dedicated wing at Montague Regional High School starting Wednesday.

"I do want to be clear, however, that none of our schools will be moving to remote learning at this time. With the power outages and disruptions in web connections, virtual learning is not a viable option right now," she said.

"We ask for your continued patience."

An aerial view of Fiona's path of destruction in P.E.I.

2 months ago
Duration 0:53
This drone footage gathered by CBC video producer Shane Hennessey on Sunday shows the extensive damage caused by post-tropical storm Fiona in parts of the Island.

Jameson said student well-being teams are being deployed to schools next week, and staff will be offering respite services for those families whose kids won't be returning to the classroom on Monday.

"As it relates to the kids in class, I'm hoping that they can expect a relatively [normal] return to school," she said.

"We're there. We're gonna be there to support our students and staff throughout the coming days. We know that this is challenging and I'd love to say today that 100 per cent of our schools are opening on Monday, but that's just not the reality."

The Public Schools Branch announced earlier this week that the professional learning day planned for Oct. 7 has been cancelled.

Sabrinna Spingle, pictured here with her daughter, Lyla Buckle, says it's tough to see the school year disrupted. (Laura Meader/CBC)

'They still need to have some structure'

It's hard for some parents to see the school year disrupted so early – especially following years of COVID-19 shutdown, said Sabrinna Spingle, who has three kids. Two of them go to West Royalty and one goes to Queen Charlotte.

"They still need to have some structure, they need to remember that it is actually a school year." 

While some parents are worried about kids being away from school – some students have been soaking in the break.

Spingle's daughter seven-year-old Evelyn Buckle has not minded having the week off from going to West Royalty Elementary because she helped her brother fix a fort after the storm.

"It's really fun and you spend your day outside," she said.

"Some of the gym roof came off, we might be going back this week."

Griffin, Laya and Evelyn Buckle have been using their time off school to build forts. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Evelyn's brother Griffin Buckle goes to Queen Charlotte Intermediate. He thinks the school might move to online learning if they can't get students back into the building this coming week.

"I just want to go back to how the school was before but I know that's not happening so we're just going to be going back to whatever they have done with it," he said, adding he hopes school doesn't go online because it can be hard to keep up.

'Roof damage varied from pieces of flashing blowing off to some substantial damage,' says director Norbert Carpenter, director of the Public Schools Branch. (Laura Meader/CBC)

In a note to parents and guardians, director Norbert Carpenter said professional learning is an extremely important part of the school calendar, but given the number of days missed so early in the year, the Department of Education feels it is prudent to change Oct. 7 to an instructional day.

"Roof damage varied from pieces of flashing blowing off to some substantial damage. I think it's safe to say all school properties had some level of damage." he said. "We're thinking about students and families right now. We want our students back."

Classes will resume at UPEI and Holland College on Monday, with the exception of Holland College's Belmont Centre, which currently still has no power.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tony Davis grew up on P.E.I. and studied journalism at Holland College. He can be contacted at anthony.davis@cbc.ca

With files from Laura Meader.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now