This message is from Norbert Carpenter, Acting Director, Public Schools Branch
Parents and Guardians,
Island children and education staff have been back in school for one month. At this time, it is important to recognize the tremendous work our education system, parents, students and the Chief Public Health Office have put into ensuring this school year, while different, can be successful. The health and safety of our school community is our top priority and we have put measures in place to support a positive learning experience for all.
We are monitoring what is happening across our country with respect to cases of COVID within schools. Because of the guidance of our CPHO and the compliance of Islanders, we are in a good position but recognize that a second wave is possible. We need to continue to mitigate the risk of potential community spread. Now is not the time to be complacent. The measures our province has put in place can only be successful with the continued support of Islanders. We all must continue to follow these guidelines and adapt to our new normal.
Staying home when ill
Whether it is cold, flu, pink eye, coronavirus or other illness, students should stay home if they are ill so that illness is not spread through schools and workplaces.
A negative COVID test does not mean an individual is ready to go back to school.
If a student has tested negative for COVID-19 but still displays mild symptoms, please consider the following:
Students should not return to school or
• if they have on-going fever or chills
• if symptoms are not improving or there are new symptoms
Students could return to school or work:
if they are fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication, e.g. Tylenol
• if they have a runny nose, congestion, or other mild symptoms they can return to school provided they are well enough to engage in learning or their job
• if mild symptoms are improving and there are no new symptoms
• if they continue to practice good hand hygiene and cough/sneeze etiquette (e.g. cough or sneeze into your arm or a tissue)
Improved access to testing and results
Health PEI has expanded access to COVID-19 testing with new drop-in, no-appointment screening clinics across the province for those with symptoms of COVID-19. This is in addition to the scheduled testing clinics still being offered in Charlottetown at 64 Park Street and in Summerside in Slemon Park.
The drop-in options are available in O’Leary, Summerside, Borden, Charlottetown and Three Rivers. Testing at these locations is offered on a first-come, first serve basis, with no referral necessary for symptomatic children and any symptomatic household members, as well as essential workers and any of their symptomatic household members. However, only people who meet criteria for testing will be swabbed.
Islanders do not have to call 8-1-1 to access these services.
Drop-in Testing Clinic Locations and Hours of Operation
O’Leary testing clinic (O’Leary Health Centre)
• Monday: 1-4 PM
• Wednesday and Friday: 8 AM – 12 PM
Summerside testing clinic (Slemon Park)
• Monday-Friday: 8 AM – 12 PM
• Saturday: 8 AM – 4 PM
• Sunday: 1 PM – 4 PM
Borden-Carleton (20 Dickie Rd)
• Monday & Wednesday: 8 AM – 12 PM
• Saturday: 8 AM – 11 AM
Charlottetown (64 Park Street)
• Monday to Saturday: 8am-4 pm
Montague (Montague Health Centre Parking lot)
• Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 8 AM-12 PM
The hours of the Drop-in Testing Clinics are subject to change so we would encourage individuals to check the website before visiting: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/health-and-wellness/information-about-covid-19-testing-pei
As well, Islanders who have tested for COVID-19 can now access their negative test results online within 72 hours.
Individuals must enter their PEI Health Card number information, date of birth and date of testing to access the results. Only negative test results are displayed online. The Chief Public Health Office (CPHO) will continue to contact individuals directly if they have tested positive for COVID-19.
Unless otherwise instructed, individuals are required to self-isolate until their COVID-19 test results are confirmed to be negative. Household members do not need to self-isolate with the person awaiting the test results, however, they should continue practicing public health measures like washing hands frequently, maintaining physical distancing and masking when in indoor public settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Cases within a school
Our response to a positive COVID-19 case within a school will be proactive.
The Department of Education and Lifelong Learning and Chief Public Health Office have developed an outbreak management process to ensure that roles and responsibilities are understood when there is a positive COVID-19 case identified in the school system.
Each school has identified a school-based COVID-19 Response Team who are organized and prepared to respond to a positive case of COVID-19 should one be identified in their school. The Education Authorities (Public Schools Branch and Commission scolaire de langue français) also have response teams that will work closely with the school to support a response.
School closures will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the Chief Public Health Office in consultation with the Education Authority and school administration. The recommendation to close schools will be based on the risk to students, teachers and staff and the operational needs of the school while also considering and balancing the public health risks associated with COVID-19. A school closure could be anywhere from one to 28 days.
More information to help keep our school community safe can be found here. https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/topic/keeping-everyone-safe.
Public Schools Branch
Posted by Shirley Smedley-Jay on Thursday, October 1, 2020.