Holland College, UPEI plan for next semester amid uncertainty with Atlantic bubble

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Holland College and the University of Prince Edward Island are making plans for what happens when students return to school after the Christmas holiday.

The schools say they have been encouraging students to remain on P.E.I. over the holidays, but realize that many will be travelling and having to self-isolate when they return.

Sandy MacDonald, president of Holland College, said students who live in dorms will not be able to self-isolate on campus, so they must find alternate accommodations.

The province has opted out of the Atlantic bubble until at least Dec. 7. If that continues throughout the holidays, even those who travel to other Maritime locations will have to self-isolate for 14 days. MacDonald said that could affect about 300 students.

Dorms will be open

If P.E.I. rejoins the Atlantic bubble after Dec. 7, only students outside the Atlantic provinces who go home for the holidays would have to self-isolate for 14 days when they return. MacDonald said that could affect about 120 students.

He's hoping most will choose to stay put.

"Both of our dorms will be open so people will be able to stay if they so desire. They have the kitchenettes in their dorm so will be able to have food service. We'll be doing some activities with them in the dorms."

Regardless, Holland College will deliver the first two weeks of classes online "so everyone begins on equal footing," MacDonald said.

Communicating with students

After that, they will move to a blended model of online and in-class instruction.

MacDonald said the school is keeping the lines of communication open between the school, the students and the Chief Public Health Office.

In a statement to CBC, UPEI said its plan is similar to what was done in September — "providing access to self-isolation hotel(s) where students could self-isolate for 14 days if they do not have an alternate self-isolation location."

Those plans will continue if P.E.I. remains out of the Atlantic bubble, though on a larger scale as more students would be affected. UPEI said it is still confirming details and will be updating students as soon as possible.

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