School — from home — begins Monday across P.E.I.
Premier promises class of 2020 they will have a graduation ceremony and prom
School will be back in session April 6 on P.E.I., but students will be learning from their kitchen tables at home instead of their desks in the classroom.
With school buildings closed until at least May 11 because of COVID-19, the province outlined its plans for home education during a media briefing on Tuesday.
Premier Dennis King said nobody knows for sure what the next weeks or months will look like, but he reassured Grade 12 students they will have some form of prom and graduation ceremony.
"I will not allow COVID-19 to rob you, the class of 2020, of these important celebrations," he said.
"They may occur at a different time, they may look a little bit differently, but I promise you that you will look back on these celebrations, as we are all fortunate to do, for the rest of your lives."
Education Minister Brad Trivers said beginning Monday, teachers will be taking the lead on home learning, and will connect with students "on a way that works best for all involved."
Materials will be provided so that regardless of access to the internet, families and students can still practise skills and continue learning.
"Most of these will require nothing more than paper and a pencil at the kitchen table," Trivers said.
Any learning gaps as a result of COVID-19 will be addressed and students will be able to progress to the next grade level, Trivers said.
All provincial assessments for this year, including the DELF French language skills assessment and the Early Years Evaluations, which assess readiness for kindergarten, are cancelled.
Trivers said in the absence of school breakfast and lunch programs with schools currently closed, assistance will be given to families dealing with food insecurity. Families are asked to contact the Support for Families lines at 902-368-5155 or 902-368-6990 or email email@example.com.
'Students will not be disadvantaged'
Tamara Hubley-Little, director of English education and programs and services, said the curriculum for students from kindergarten to Grade 9 will prioritize math and literacy. Students will continue to learn physical health and well-being.
There will be 60 minutes of instruction a day at the elementary level, she said.
At the intermediate level, there will be 90 minutes of instruction focusing on literacy, numeracy, social studies and science.
High school students will have no more than two hours per course per week.
"Students will not be disadvantaged because of COVID-19," she said.
Trivers said child-care centres are expected to start reopening as early as Wednesday for children of essential workers. Currently, the centres are for children older than two who don't have compromised immune systems. Health and safety protocols will be implemented, he said. No more than five people will be allowed in a room, including the workers, and no food will be prepared at the centres.
He said child-care workers are not required to come back to work.
"We're asking them to volunteer to do that."
The province is still contacting the centres, Trivers said, and about 20 have expressed interest in reopening.
P.E.I. has 21 positive cases of Covid-19. One of those cases is considered recovered.
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.
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With files from Sara Fraser, Sam Juric and Malcolm Campbell