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School Closure For Deaths In The School Community

Resolution Number: 2018-01
Submitted by: Prince Street Home and School Association

WHEREAS    the people in our schools and on school grounds have a variety of employers (for example, the Public Schools Branch; the French-Language School Board; the Department of Education, Early Learning, and Culture; municipalities) and that students and volunteers on school sites are not there as employees; and

WHEREAS    "school communities" should be understood as a network made up of students, teachers, staff, administrators, crossing guards, bus drivers, on-site volunteers, and parents and guardians who all play a role in students' safety and learning; and

WHEREAS    some members of school communities have significant and regular interactions with a wide range of students and school staff; and

WHEREAS    the death of such members of school communities is an exceptional circumstance; and

WHEREAS    a death may be untimely or occur under tragic circumstances; and

WHEREAS    it is valuable and important learning for students to understand and have the opportunity to participate in traditions and rituals that accompany death and grieving in the cultural traditions that make up Prince Edward Island; 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Prince Edward Island Home and School Federation request that the Public Schools Branch develop a policy for school closure/early dismissal that includes support for closure or dismissal for the wake or funeral of a member of the school community who has had significant and regular interaction with a wide range of students and school staff and/or whose death is untimely or in tragic circumstances, regardless of this person's employment.

Status: Passed
Saturday, April 14, 2018

Destination:Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture
Public Schools Branch

PUBLIC SCHOOLS BRANCH (July 10/18):   The death of a student, staff members, volunteer or other person connected to a school is a tragic loss for a school community. The Public Schools branch (PSB) defers to parents on their child's participation in traditions and rituals that accompany death and grieving.

The death of a student, staff person or community member can have an impact on a number of schools. The PSB respectully considers each loss, arrangements made by the family, and input from the school administration when considering the impact on the school day.

So many people are connected to our education system and help make our schools wonderful places to learn and work. Death is difficult and the PSB is very aware of the additional supports that are often needed to help those impacted by the loss. Schools are often open during such a loss to allow people to come together, comfort each other, grieve together, and to seek additional support of our counsellors and Student Services staff.

In the past, there have been times the PSB dismissed classes as a result of a death of a current staff member or students. As mentioned before, consideration of the arrangements that have been made by the family as well as consultation with the school administration assist with these decisions.


EDUCATION, EARLY LEARNING AND CULTURE (October 22, 2018):  The entire school community is impacted by the death of a person connected to the school. The Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture (EELC) defers to the Public School Branch (PSB) on the sensitive decisions that must be made in consideration of each loss. I trust the PSB will continue to seek input from school administrtion when considering possible impacts on the school day while respecting the arrangements made by the family. Finally, the PSB is to be commended for providing additional support from their counsellors and Student Services staff during such times. By keeping schools open, people have a place to gather together and offer one another comfort.