Province releases plan to safely return students to school in September
Prince Edward Island’s new Welcome Back to School plan supports the safe return of all K-12 students and staff to school in September.
Under the guidance of the Chief Public Health Office, the plan outlines protocols to support physical distancing, enhanced hygiene and the safe flow of students through the school.
“Students are telling us that the classroom is the best learning environment because they can learn together and face-to-face with their teachers, they can be with their friends and be part of their school community. Our goal is to safely return students and staff to school while being prepared to adapt to changing public health conditions at any time.”
- Education and Lifelong Learning Minister Brad Trivers
The plan was developed by a provincial Fall Readiness Committee which worked closely with the Chief Public Health Office. The Public Schools Branch and Commission scolaire de langue française will work with each school on operational plans that address the needs of their school.
The plan includes guidelines for all schools to keep students and staff safe, for example:
- Students will work in cohorts, or groups of the same students, as much as possible. Cohorts will distance themselves from other groups to limit exposure to other students.
- Classrooms will be configured to support physical distancing. Schools will work to reduce class sizes and when necessary, alternate space such as multi-purpose rooms will be used as classrooms.
- Lunch and recess breaks will be staggered, as well as drop-off and pick-up times.
- Protocols will be in place to safely move students through the school and reduce congestion in hallways and common areas.
- Students and staff will be required to stay home when they are unwell and there will be screening protocols for all people entering a school.
- Students will be educated on the importance of physical distancing and hand washing.
- Enhanced cleaning protocols will be followed in the school and on the school bus.
- To reduce the number of students on buses, parents will be asked to transport their children to and from school whenever possible and buses will be added where necessary.
The plan for September is based on current evidence and recommendations of the Chief Public Health Office. While in-school learning is the preferred model, back-up plans will be in place to move to at-home learning should public health conditions change.
Staff will return to school on September 1 and students on September 8. Orientation on new operational requirements will be held for all staff. Professional learning for teachers will focus on the revised curriculum, online teaching and learning, and student wellness.
“By focusing on content that had to be omitted this spring and on key areas of the curriculum early in the school year, schools will be in a good position to minimize the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on student learning,” said Minister Trivers. “We are confident that, by working together, we can bring our students back safely and provide them with opportunities that are critical to their academic, social and emotional development.”
Minister Trivers said parents and guardians will play an important role in their children’s transition to new learning environments. The Department and school leaders will seek input from parents and be in close contact with them regarding any adjustments that may be required.
Additional teachers and cleaning staff will be hired to support the implementation of the plan.
Education and Lifelong Learning