P.E.I. schools could be teaching online by next week in bid to limit COVID-19 spread

P.E.I. students could find themselves back in class when March break ends on March 23, just not back in school.

‘We don’t want to jeopardize this school year’

Schools across the province will remain closed until at least May 11.  (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

P.E.I. students could find themselves back in class when March break ends on March 23 — just not back in school.

The government has closed P.E.I. schools until at least April 6 to limit the spread of COVID-19, but Education Minister Brad Trivers told CBC's Island Morning students could be doing lessons online as early as next week.

"What we're looking to do is continue education even though schools are closed," said Trivers.

"Our education authorities — the Public Schools Branch as well as the La Commission scolaire de langue française —are putting measures in place to allow learning to continue even while schools are closed."

Trivers said the school boards started looking into online options for learning last week. He said further details on how it will work will come from the school boards themselves this week.

"We don't want to jeopardize this school year. We want to see it continue so that people can continue to progress," he said.

"I'm not under any illusions it will be the same level of learning, but I am optimistic that a great amount of learning can continue."

Trivers said the Education Department will continue to consult with the Chief Public Health Office as April 6 approaches to determine whether it is safe to reopen the schools then.

Early learning centres closing

The province announced Sunday that daycares would close starting Tuesday until at least April 6.

Trivers acknowledged this was going to be a hardship, but Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Heather Morrison advised this was the best way forward.

More news is coming on schools and daycares, said Brad Trivers. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

"When you're at a daycare social distancing is almost impossible to enforce," he said.

"If you're a parent who wants to get to work, now you're trying to figure out how you find care for your children."

Trivers said he expected there would be more news on daycares on Monday.

COVID-19: What you need to know

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever.
  • Cough.
  • Tiredness.

But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia, which can lead to death.

What should I do if I feel sick?

Isolate yourself and call your local public health authority. Do not visit an emergency room or urgent care centre to get tested.

How can I protect myself?

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Be aware of evolving travel advisories to different regions.

More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning


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