P.E.I. post-secondary schools getting ready for students from outside Atlantic bubble
Quarantine required for those coming from outside Atlantic bubble
Students will be returning to post-secondary schools on P.E.I. in the next few weeks and moving into on-campus residences — but it will be done differently this year due to COVID-19 for those coming from outside the Atlantic bubble.
About 120 students from outside the bubble are expected to live in residence at Holland College, says Doug Currie, the college's vice-president of corporate and strategic development.
Students are set to arrive in time to self-isolate for two weeks at a hotel prior to moving into residence with students from inside the bubble.
"We will be working with a hotel operator that will be assigned to Holland College to quarantine and self-isolate the approximately 120 students that will be arriving here for September," Currie said.
The quarantine cost is being covered by the province, Currie said.
We are getting a number of requests recently of students trying to come in early because they see Prince Edward Island as being fairly safe.— Doug Currie, Holland College
"The province has stepped up and done a great job, they'll be providing the accommodations and meals and security," he said.
"We'll be working with them and the particular hotel operator to get things settled and up and running to meet the expectations of the Chief Public Health Office for that 120 students."
Officials with the college said about 90 of its rooms will be vacant this fall.
However, the college is hopeful that in January, 900 students who are unable to attend in person this semester will be back on campus.
"Right now the majority of those students would be international students" Currie said.
"We are getting a number of requests recently of students trying to come in early because they see Prince Edward Island as being fairly safe."
Currie said parents and guardians won't be allowed in residences to say goodbye this year.
"It's just simply a drop off," he said.
Currie said welcoming students will have a phased approach.
Things will also be done differently for student accommodations at UPEI. Rooms that are normally doubles will be singles this year.
"It's taken our number down from what we normally have in inventory for the academic year, but not significantly enough that we look at it and say, you know, 'we are going to be having challenges this year,'" said Johnathan Oliver, director of ancillary services for the university.
Physical distancing and ensuring gatherings don't get too large in common rooms and dining halls will be a point of focus, Oliver said.
"I think that for the most part what we're really trying to do is give students still the experience that we can, based in the time that we have, and how things continually are evolving, and do what we can to make sure everybody is safe and secure and comfortable in their living environment," he said.
In a public health briefing Tuesday, Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed that her office is working closely with UPEI and Holland College on how to prepare for the arrival of those coming from outside the Atlantic bubble.
She said more details will be released in the days to come.
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With files from Jessica Doria-Brown