Chief Public Health Office and Department of Health and Wellness, July 31, 2014
Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Public Health Officer responded from her office and on behalf of the Minister of Health and Wellness.
In terms of Resolution #2-2014 E-Cigarettes, the Department of Health & Wellenss is currently reviewing legislation and policies relating to both the Smoke Free Places Act and the Tobacco Sales & Access Act. We have also been closely involved in national discussions regarding e-Health asking for more federal oversight regarding flovoured tobacco. Our Office has participated in a virtual symposium on e-cigarettes within the last month with national colleagues including the Chief Medical Officer of Health representing each Province and Territory.
In terms of Resolution #8-2014 Head Lice, prior to any English Language School Board policy (ELSB), both myself as Chief Public Health Officer and Kathy Jones, Director of Public Health Programs with Health PEI, met with all principals in the Western and Eastern school districts to provide background and education prior to any school board policy/direction from Department of Education.
Prior to any English Language School Board policy changes, Dr. Morrison and Kathy Jones, Director of Public Health Programs with Health PEI, met with all principals in the Western and Eastern school districts to provide background and education prior to any school board/direction from the Department of Education.
Prior to implementation of the ELSB policy children were missing instructional time. Public Health Nursing, Health PEI, were aware of some children being out of school for extremely lengthy periods due to the presence of nits (>30 days). As part of the treatment, children should have their hair combed daily and nits removed, but it is not necessary for children to be absent from school due to the presence of a nit as long as they are adhering to the recommended treatment regime. These same policies are in place in other provinces such as Nova Scotia and Ontario and are all based on the recommendations from the Canadian Pediatric Society.
Both the Chief Public Health Office and Health PEI support on-going education and working together with parents and teachers to ensure understanding of how to manage head lice (pediculosis), including making sure that proper educational materials are being used. Public Health Nursing has in the past, and continues, to provide parent education and support on this issue. They have indicated they are available to present at Home and School meetings, attend meet-the-teacher nights as well as other opportunities. In addition, Public health Nursing continues to provide parents who contact them with information, education and support. This is a role based on evidence and the experience of other jurisdictions. Public Health Nursing has reformed this role to best meet health needs based on evidence.
Some schools/parents may be managing head lice issues more comfortably than others and it may be possible that schools and parents learn from each other with the support of Public Health Nursing. In addition, if the Home and School Federation would like to hear a presentation on the management of head lice, I am sure that could be arranged. Head lice has always been a challenge. If health and education follow the science and evidence, in conjunction with good standards and information, it will help us all manage it better.
Department of Health and Wellness, October 20, 2014
Studies show that the use of electronic smoking devises is growin rapidly, with 27% of Canadian smokers having tried ESDs in 2013/2014, up from 4% of Canadian smokers in 2010/2011. The Department intends to amend the Tobacco Sales and Access Act to treat ESDs in the same manner as tobacco is treated. The amendment will prohibit the sale of ESDs to persons under the age of 19. In addition, the amendment will impose the same restrictions on the display and advertising of ESDs as is currently applied to tobacco.
English Language School Board, October 2, 2014
The English Language School Board has implemented operational procedures, consistent with treatment as recommended by health specialists and similar to those in other Canadian school district jurisdictions, regarding pediculosis. Schools in the English Language School Board will continue to collaborate closely with health practitioners and parents/guardians to ensure that families are informed about appropriate procedures to eliminate this problem.
Education and Early Childhood Development, March 26, 2015
As this resolution is a school board matter, I will defer the decision on this resolution to the school board.