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Officials with two post-secondary institutions in Charlottetown say strong communication has helped domestic and international students understand self-isolation rules for COVID-19 regarding travel to P.E.I.
"Students knew all the info before they travelled, which I think makes the world of difference," said Malak Nassar, UPEI Student Union vice-president academic and external. "The registrar's office was contacting students saying, 'If you are planning to travel for the (break between first and second semester), whether that be to another province or outside of Canada, here's what you need to do, here's what you need to know.'
"I think knowing in advance really helped people not only with their plans but also make their decisions on whether or not they were going to travel."
UPEI student union president Tolulope Oginni said P.E.I.’s only university is pleased with how students and responded to their individual situations.
"The school is working directly with the Chief Public Health Office to meet student guidelines and travel guidelines," said Oginni.
Nassar said one of the factors on P.E.I. is where the students are travelling from, regardless if they are an international or domestic student. She explained students travelling from within
Canada must submit a quarantine plan to the province. That self-isolation can be performed at their living arrangement on P.E.I. or a hotel.
“For people coming from outside of Canada, specifically international students, if they are completely new to UPEI and are coming for their first semester, they have to quarantine at the hotel because they don’t have any point people to help them out and their expenses are covered by the province,” said Nassar.
“If they are a student who did go to UPEI before but had not been in P.E.I. until before the pandemic, their costs would also be covered (by the province) if they stayed at the quarantine hotel.
“For someone who just left for the winter break and is returning, their costs would not be covered by the province if they stay at the quarantine hotel, except under extreme circumstances if they had to leave for immigration reasons, etc.”
Lornie Hughes, a registrar at Holland College, said the Charlottetown-based school refers all isolation plans to the provincial government, and the college does not get involved in those. He added the school is in constant contact with students before they arrive and during isolation.
"There has been significant work put into the communication piece, which has boded quite well for us in the success of students going through isolation and knowing what to expect when they get here," said Hughes. "In particular, too, we spend a lot of time communicating with families who are sending their children sometimes across the world in a pandemic."