No registry created to track TOSH student health

The P.E.I. government has not created a registry to monitor health concerns of students at Three Oaks Senior High in Summerside — something that was promised by government earlier this year.

The province made that promise in June, following concerns about air quality during renovations at TOSH. 

Test results during the school's renovations revealed that air quality did not always meet recommended guidelines, and one day there were high asbestos readings.

But following questions from Green MLA Trish Altass in question period Thursday, Education Minister Brad Trivers clarified that a new registry has not been created — as the Public Schools Branch already tracks student enrolment at all Island schools, and Trivers said that serves the same function. 

"That's the perfect place to understand exactly who was at the school during the Three Oaks renovations," Trivers said. 

School and health records not linked

Altass said she has heard from parents who have been trying to find information about the registry. In question period she asked Trivers for updates on the registry, and what exactly it tracks.

Al MacCormick/CBC

"Will these records be in any way linked to health card numbers of these students, or any way to access any of this information through the Department of Health, or to track long-term health impacts of the students that might occur in the future," said Altass. 

"Is any of that possible through the current registry housed within the Department of Education?"

Altass said the reason parents advocated for a registry was so that the province would be able to track if there are any trends with health issues among former TOSH students down the road. 

Al MacCormick/CBC

Trivers said there are no plans to track long-term health information through a registry, but he said the province's chief health officer could decide to investigate further.

Toby MacDonald, a parent of a former TOSH student, is one of the people who has advocated for a registry.

"Documentation is absolutely a critical piece of this, and everything should be linked. If a registry is only a list of individuals, that list potentially means nothing." 

In November 2018, the Chief Public Health Office determined there were no significant health risks to students during the renovations.

Following question period, Altass introduced a motion to prohibit future construction that could result in the release of dangerous particulates in schools while students are present. The motion passed unanimously.

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