Mask mandate for schools, early learning and child care centers to end May 24th
Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison, announced that Prince Edward Island will be ending the mandate for students and staff to wear masks in early learning and child care centers, K-12 public and private schools and on school buses on May 24, 2022.
“The number of cases of COVID-19 in children and youth age 18 and under has been steadily decreasing for the last number of weeks and our school attendance rates continue to improve across PEI. With this age group having the lowest rate of COVID-19 infections in the province, it is no longer legally required for masks to be worn in schools and early learning and child care centers. It is important that students and staff, who are most comfortable to continue wearing a mask, be supported in their decisions.”
- Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Heather Morrison
In addition, effective May 24, children, students and staff are no longer required to conduct regular at home antigen screening tests prior to attending school or child care. For individuals and families who wish to continue regular at home screening, schools and early learning and child care centers will have a supply of tests available. Antigen screening tests are also available through Access PEI sites across the province.
The Chief Public Health Office recommends that children and staff do not attend child care or school if they are feeling unwell. If they are symptomatic, it is recommended that testing is completed at a COVID-19 testing clinic.
“Together, the early learning and child care sector and education system, along with families, students, staff and public health, have worked diligently to protect Island students, families and our communities,” said Dr. Morrison. “We continue to strongly recommend masks in public places across Prince Edward Island.”
The requirement for individuals who are COVID-19 positive to isolate for 7 days (if fully vaccinated) or 10 days (if not fully vaccinated) remains in place. The isolation requirement will be reassessed in two weeks. Masks are highly recommended in most indoor public settings and are still required in high risk settings such as hospitals, long term and community care homes and public transit.
As of May 15, 97.7 per cent of Island residents over the age of 12 years received at least one dose of vaccine and 94.7 per cent were fully vaccinated. 68.7 per cent of children ages 5 to 11 had one dose of vaccine and 54.6 per cent have two doses.
Parents of unvaccinated children between the ages of 5 and 11 years should make an appointment for their children to receive a first dose. In addition to any immediate illness, children are vulnerable to developing long COVID-19 and the long-term health impacts of post-viral illnesses are not yet known. Island children 5 to 11 years of age can receive their COVID-19 vaccine at a Health PEI vaccination clinic.
Anyone 12 years of age and older can get their primary series of the COVID-19 vaccination, first and second dose, at a Health PEI vaccination clinic or at one of the many partner pharmacies across the province. Approximately 49,700 Island residents age 12 and over are now eligible for a first booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Booster doses are being offered at clinics and partner pharmacies. Adolescents 12 to 17 years of age can receive a booster dose six months after completing their primary series of the vaccine, and Islanders 18 years of age and older can receive a booster dose five and half months after completing their primary series.
A second booster dose is now recommended for Islanders 60 years of age and older, those living in long-term and community care facilities, and Indigenous adults 18 years of age and older to provide extended protection against COVID-19. The second booster dose should be administered four to six months after receiving the first booster dose.
Islanders recently infected with COVID-19 should wait three months after onset of symptoms or testing positive before getting a COVID-19 vaccine or booster dose. Individuals who are isolating and require supports are encouraged to dial 2-1-1 to be directed to nearby community support systems, or provincial government service offices. This assistance includes help with securing food, personal prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and other emergency situations. The program operates on a self-referral basis. More information is available here.
For information on PEI’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, including vaccine facts, immunization data and booking an appointment, visit: COVID-19 Vaccines. For answers to commonly asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccines, visit: Answers to Common COVID-19 Vaccine Questions.
The Chief Public Health Office continues to work closely with the federal government, provincial and territorial counterparts, government departments and Health PEI to monitor the pandemic situation and prepare for all COVID-19 related impacts to the province, including health, social and economic. The public health risk of COVID-19 is continually reassessed, and Islanders will be updated as new information becomes available.
Everyone is encouraged to follow routine prevention measures:
- Get vaccinated
- Wear a properly fitted, three-layer mask in indoor public places
- Keep your circle of contacts small
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water
- Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue
- Stay home if you are not feeling well
- Limit touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Physical distance - stay two meters (6 feet) apart
- Don’t share items like drinking glasses and water bottles
- Frequently clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs and countertops
Health and Wellness