P.E.I.'s most vulnerable students 'will be supported' amid COVID-19, education minister says
'Families are facing a tough situation and for those struggling, it's even harder now'
As the Island's teachers, caregivers and students navigate home learning challenges because of COVID-19, the province says it's working to ensure all students have access to learning materials.
During Tuesday's afternoon briefing, Minister of Education Brad Trivers said he doesn't want caregivers to worry about kids falling behind.
Trivers assured caregivers that students "will be supported" as needed, even once schools reopen.
"All we're asking is, parents do your best," he said.
"We understand families are facing a tough situation and for those struggling, it's even harder now."
In the meantime, he said the Public Schools Branch and the French Language School Board are working to make sure learning isn't disrupted.
Trivers said both boards are currently preparing more than 200 packages containing basic school supplies for students who need them.
Connecting students with technology
In addition, Trivers said the province is looking at creative ways to increase access to technological resources.
He said the province is currently working on getting Chromebooks from schools to students in need of computers, beginning with Grade 12 students.
School counsellors and psychologists are working on contacting students who may need support. He said schools are also starting to set up virtual student services meetings.
Trivers said the province is continuing its efforts to safely deliver paper learning materials to families who don't have internet access.
Tips about learning from home have also been published on the province's website.
Meals for students
Trivers also acknowledged that the absence of school means there are no school breakfast and lunch programs for those who depend on them.
To deal with this challenge, Trivers said nearly 3,000 meals are being delivered to students this week.
The meals are being provided from Kinkora Regional High School, École François-Buote in Charlottetown, Murray River restaurant The Home Plate and Alberton Bakery.
He said the program provides one meal per student each day along with snacks. The P.E.I. Home and School Federation and the Breakfast Club of Canada are helping to make the program possible alongside community volunteers.
He reminded students and families that feel they need help shouldn't hesitate to call 902-368-5155 for support.
He also noted that children and youth can always call the kids helpline at 1-800-668-6868.
COVID-19: What you need to know
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
Common symptoms include:
But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.
Health Canada has built a self-assessment tool.
What should I do if I feel sick?
Isolate yourself and call 811. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested. A health professional at 811 will give you advice and instructions.
How can I protect myself?
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Clean regularly touched surfaces regularly.
- Practise physical distancing.
More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.