Charlotte MacAulay

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Last week masked students boarded school buses to start a new, and hopefully long, school year.

They entered the schools at staggered times through different doors and began their studies in designated groups ensconced in classrooms.

The list is long on specific COVID rules put in place to ensure the safety of students and staff in the 62 schools across the province.

But wait. What about the throngs of kids heading off school grounds daily for lunch?

Prior to the lockdown it wasn’t uncommon to see students walking to their favourite eatery or convenience store over the noon hour, but it wasn’t something I expected to see last week.

One would think all of the precautions taken throughout the day within the school’s walls were basically thrown out the window as students gather with their gaggle of friends - unmasked.

That’s not to say they should be masked or even that they should be held hostage in the school for the entire day.

But carrying on as ‘normal’ when every other aspect of their day is so regimented really refutes the safety measures.

By no means should these youths be labeled irresponsible and reckless. In fact just like the rest of the population of PEI, they know the drill.

There is no doubt many of the groups of friends heading out for lunch have been in close contact since lockdown was lifted a few months ago.

What I am saying is, it is a contradiction to all the rules put in place in the schools.

Perish the thought of a community outbreak. If however, that were to happen you can imagine the challenge there would be in contact tracing.

Maybe, just maybe, because there is no community spread in PEI it isn’t a concern to have kids carry on as what we once termed ‘normal’.

If that is the case perhaps government, the people creating the rules, might want to look in-house and have their employees carry on as ‘normal’ too.

Charlotte MacAulay

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