During an update on the province’s return to school plan, Education and Early Childhood
development minister Zach Churchill let parents know there are procedures in place to keep students and staff safe when the school year begins next week.
School closures due to COVID-19 will occur on the advice and recommendation of public health and only if there is deemed to be a risk to all staff and students. Students required to self-isolate will be supported to continue their learning until they can return to school. Students who become ill while at school will be monitored, isolated away from other students and a family member will be called to pick them up.
Changes for this year include relaxing the Provincial Student Attendance and Engagement Policy so no student is penalized for absences due to illness this year. Modified guidelines are in place to support the delivery of music class, band and physical education.
Families with children with special needs will continue to be supported and the Nova Scotia Pre-primary Program will be implemented across the province and this includes busing for all eligible pre-primary students
Chief medical health officer Dr. Robert Strang said he expects to see covid 19 cases occur in schools.
Strang said they have plans in place to manage any cases appropriately.
During today’s update, the province revealed more of its back to school plan and how potential covid 19 cases will be handled.
An individual is at high risk if they are someone who was in close and prolonged contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 up to 48 hours before symptoms presented and could include everyone in the class. An individual is at moderate risk if there has not been prolonged contact and they have maintained two metres or six feet from the confirmed case and would include all students and staff in a shared space who were able to physically distance.
An individual is at low risk if they have had limited or casual contact with a confirmed case. This could be incidental contact such as walking past or near the individual in a hallway or other common areas
In terms of response, public health will immediately launch an investigation to determine and arrange testing for all close contacts. Close contacts may include everyone in the class, school bus, or before and after school program. All close contacts will be required to self-isolate at home while waiting for results. If they are negative, they need to complete their 14-day isolation and if they are positive, they have to isolate as a case and follow public health guidelines. All families at the school will be notified about the exposure and measures being taken.