In-person classes at West Royalty Elementary School in Charlottetown will be cancelled for at least a week, and others in the family of schools belonging to Charlottetown Rural High School and Colonel Gray High School will be cancelled for at least three days following an outbreak of COVID-19.
P.E.I. Premier Dennis King made the announcement at a news briefing on Sunday.
Dr. Heather Morrison, Prince Edward Island’s chief public health officer, made the decision to suspend classes following six new cases of COVID-19 in young people under the age of 19.
“This is not the news any of us want to hear,” Morrison said.
There will also be a three-day suspension of extracurricular activities for students under the age of 19 in the Charlottetown area, Morrison said.
On Saturday, the Chief Public Health Office reported that a student at West Royalty Elementary had tested positive for COVID-19.
Contact tracing is underway. Morrison said she expects more positive cases in the coming days.
Ten of the last 11 new cases of COVID-19 in the province are in people under the age of 19. None are in hospital.
The schools closed for the next three days include: Charlottetown Rural High School, Colonel Gray High School, Birchwood Intermediate, Glen Stewart Elementary, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Parkdale Elementrary, Prince Street Elementary, Queen Charlottetown Intermediate, Sherwood Elementary, Spring Park Elementary, Saint Jean Elementary, Stonepark Intermediate, Stratford Elementary, West Kent Elementary, École François-Buote, Grace Christian and Immanuel Christen.
Donagh Regional School will have classes as normal.
West Royalty will begin online learning on Tuesday, said Norbert Carpenter, director of the Public Schools Branch. There will be no online learning at the other schools for the time being to allow for testing, he said.
Employers asked to be flexible
The premier encouraged employers to be flexible for parents who cannot find child care on short notice. He said parents who cannot arrange child care can find supports on the government website later Sunday.
Morrison made another plea for P.E.I. residents and visitors to get vaccinated — and tested if they develop symptoms.
“I am concerned that we do not know the extent of COVID transmission in P.E.I.,” she said.
P.E.I. has 14 active cases of COVID-19 and has had 247 positive cases since the onset of the pandemic, which began in March 2020.
As of Sept. 8, 246,214 doses of vaccine had been administered on P.E.I. Ninety-two per cent of the eligible population had received at least one dose and 83.1 per cent had received two doses.
Children under the age of 12 are not eligible to be vaccinated.