Online learning for PEI students extended until January 17

CHARLOTTETOWN, PEI – Students will be home learning until at least January 17, said the PEI Minister of Education.

Natalie Jameson attended the Public Health Bureau’s regular press conference via video link on Tuesday, January 4.

The extended e-learning period will allow rapid antigen tests and masks to be delivered to every school, allow students to watch for any new symptoms since the holidays, and allow schools to implement improved guidelines recommended by public health, Jameson said.

“Our goal throughout this process is to work together to support both the students and our staff,” said Jameson.

Prince Edward Island Education Minister Natalie Jameson said her ministry is working to support students and staff as they learn at home through January 17.  - Contribution
Prince Edward Island Education Minister Natalie Jameson said her ministry is working to support students and staff as they learn at home through January 17. – Contribution

Respite programs, the school meal program and other social supports remain available to parents, she said.

In addition, 30,000 reusable three-layer masks – one for each student and staff member – as well as rapid antigen test kits will be distributed to schools. Each student will need two negative rapid antigen tests, done 48 hours apart before they can return to school.

As students learn at home, additional furniture will be removed from classrooms to make more space for physical distancing upon their return. Kindergarten to Grade 9 students will also be placed in cohorts, where possible.

The 10 schools that still rely on natural ventilation will receive 175 HEPA filters, Jameson said. These schools will also receive new mechanical ventilation systems this summer.

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure staff ensure that current mechanical ventilation systems are operating efficiently.

In one look

During the Jan. 4 press conference, Dr. Heather Morrison, chief public health officer, said across the country there has been a 79% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and a 23% increase in hospitalizations. Here are some issues from Prince Edward Island:

  • There are 198 new cases of COVID-19 in PEI. and 1,159 active cases
  • Three patients are hospitalized, including one in intensive care
  • Last week, the province performed 15,500 tests, including 1,450 PCR tests

“We are in the midst of an aggressive fourth wave of this pandemic and we are seeing the Omicron variant spread at an alarming rate. Many areas of our health care system are strained by a higher number of cases. This wave is affecting many sectors of our economy and our life here on PEI. “
-Dr. Heather Morrison.

Morrison has announced that appointments will be added in Skip the Waiting Room for children aged 5 to 11 in the coming days. She also said there will be more pediatric clinics added throughout January. More details can be found on the province’s website.

“I want to encourage all parents to take the next few weeks to get their children immunized,” Jameson said.

The decision to expand home learning was in response to advice from Morrison’s office.

“Until we know more about the extent of Omicron’s spread in our province, we are forced to take a consistent and cautious approach. We must continue to work together to limit the spread of the Omicron variant, ”said Morrison, adding that the return to classroom learning will depend on the impact of the Omicron variant on PEI.

Morrison also said that the Omicron variant spreads very easily.

“People can get COVID-19 even if they follow all the guidelines, and there is no value in asking, ‘What did I do wrong? In many cases, people were diligent and respectful of public health measures, and unfortunately they ended up contracting COVID-19. “

Public health staff added 2,000 appointments for recalls in Summerside as of Jan. 5, Morrison said.

Mass immunization clinics will begin next week and appointments will be available online later this week.

In addition, the Summerside clinic will be expanded and the Charlottetown vaccination clinic is back at the Eastlink Center. Pharmacies also add vaccination appointments.

Morrison announced a second briefing this week on Jan.6 to discuss masks, isolation and case management, as well as the policy of testing to stay.