Province considering 'all circumstances and all scenarios' in planning for 2020-21 school year

As the first phase of the province's ease-back plan begins, P.E.I. Minister of Education Brad Trivers joined CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin for an interview Friday evening.

'I haven't specifically looked at extending the 2020-21 school calendar at this point'

P.E.I.'s Department of Education and Lifelong Learning is making all considerations in planning for the next school year, says Brad Trivers. (CBC News: Compass)

As the first phase of the province's ease-back plan begins, P.E.I. Minister of Education Brad Trivers joined CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin for an interview Friday evening.

As the end of the originally planned school year inches closer, Trivers said the department is beginning to look ahead to September. 

"We have to be sure we're ready for all circumstances and all scenarios. We really don't know where we're going to be at when it comes to the pandemic and the [Chief Public Health Office] protocols when September comes around," he said. 

Right now, he said, the plan is to make sure that everything is organized so that students are able to fill in any gaps that may exist from home-learning.

Really there was no option that wasn't on the table​​​​​​.— Brad Trivers, minister of education and lifelong learning

"I haven't specifically looked at extending the 2020-21 school calendar at this point and I know they've done it in some other jurisdictions, you know, starting it for example earlier, but we're at the beginning of our considerations there." 

Continuing home-learning

On Thursday, Trivers announced that online appointments will be available for students and teachers to meet beginning June 15, to exchange feedback and mark learning progress.

But he noted that students and teachers have been meeting virtually from the early days of COVID-19 on P.E.I.

"If you talk to parents and students out there, if they need to connect with their teacher, they're able to do that and teachers are being extremely flexible, innovative to make that happen." 

P.E.I.'s Education Minister Brad Trivers sheds light on what is next for students in the province 7:58

He said reaching a decision to continue with home-learning for the remainder of the school calendar was made with the safety of students in mind along with the Chief Public Health Office's guidelines. 

The department, Trivers said, considered several options before arriving at the decision.

"Really there was no option that wasn't on the table," he said. 

The department looked at staggering classes and even conducting outdoor group gatherings for students, he said. 

"I would say the education authorities are still looking at some of these options and being innovative, to allow students to connect." 

University- and college-bound students

Trivers also noted the department is working closely with post-secondary institutions across the country to ensure the Island's university- and college-bound students will be able to match the expectations of those institutions. 

He said the compacted curriculums during COVID-19 have been carefully considered for grade 11 and 12 students to ensure they're prepared and have what they need to be successful. 

While schools are aiming for the week of June 22 to officially allow students to retrieve their items from lockers, Trivers said should students need something urgently, they can contact their teacher or principal. 

"If there's an immediate, urgent need for that we will entertain those requests on a one-off basis," he said.  

"If you're a student that has something you just can't live without, either the student or the parent can contact their teacher and the teacher will get that request through the principals and make that happen."

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.

    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.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from CBC News: Compass


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