Students from outside Atlantic bubble start arriving on P.E.I.

With UPEI and Holland College expecting hundreds of students from other parts of Canada and around the world this fall, P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison is outlining plans for dealing with the influx.

‘We know there is a risk of importation of COVID-19,’ Morrison says

Post-secondary institutions will need to support students in quarantine, says Dr. Heather Morrison. (Jane Robertson/CBC)

P.E.I. Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison outlined initial plans for dealing with the arrival of post-secondary students from outside the Atlantic bubble Tuesday morning.

Morrison was speaking at the regular, weekly pandemic briefing.

The province is expecting far fewer international students this year, Morrison said. In a normal year there would be about 2,500, but only about 500 are expected this fall.

"We know there is a risk of importation of COVID-19 into P.E.I.," she said.

"Many of the post-secondary international students are in the 20- to 30-year age range, that often may not perceive that they are at risk of getting the virus and may feel invincible. Moreover, some students are coming from areas with a high prevalence of COVID-19."

Pre-travel approval

International students arriving from other countries will be required to quarantine in designated hotels that will be monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, said Morrison.

On day 10 to 12, the students will be tested for COVID-19. 

All students from outside the Atlantic bubble will require pre-travel approval to be admitted into the province. Part of that approval process will be preparing an acceptable self-isolation plan.

Some of those Canadian students began to arrive Tuesday, said Morrison.

Canadian students, and international students who have remained in Canada, will be allowed to self-isolate in their own accommodations, or they may choose to self-isolate at a hotel.

"It is incumbent on the institutions to provide the necessary support to students during the 14 days of self-isolation," said Morrison.

The Chief Public Health Office is continuing to work with post-secondary institutions to finalize plans for dealing with students coming from outside the Atlantic bubble.

UPEI expects 150 international arrivals

UPEI spokesperson Nicole Phillips has told CBC News that the Charlottetown university is expecting 350 students to be arriving from outside the Atlantic bubble. 

"Of that number, it would be estimated that 150 would be arriving from outside the country (international) and will be self-isolating in a designated hotel, and that 200 would be arriving from outside the Atlantic Canada bubble (so domestic students from other Canadian provinces or international students who have been in other parts of Canada)," she wrote in an email. 

"The latter group may be self-isolating in residence if they are residence students, in the designated hotel if they don't have a place to self-isolate, or in a location of their own if their self-isolation is approved by P.E.I."

She added that "a large number" of the university's more senior international students did not leave the Island in March, when the pandemic hit, but chose to stay on P.E.I. throughout the summer.

Holland College says it is expecting about 130 students, including:

  • 80 domestic students from outside the Atlantic bubble.
  • 30 international students who are coming from other sites within Canada.
  • 20 international students who are currently outside Canada. 

More from CBC P.E.I.


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