COVID-19 Press Releases

Provincial COVID-19 Update - December 11, 2020

Nova Scotia public school students will have an extended holiday break out of an abundance of caution. The last day of classes will be Dec. 18 and classes resume Jan. 11.

School-based staff will be returning to schools on Jan. 4 for five days of professional learning. Principals, teachers, support staff, specialists and early childhood educators will be in school learning in areas such as inclusive education, social emotional learning and technology.

Also, The province is renewing the state of emergency to protect the health and safety of Nova Scotians and ensure safety measures and other important actions can continue. The order will take effect at noon Sunday, Dec. 13 and extend to noon Sunday, Dec. 27, unless government terminates or extends it.

Changes to Self Isolation Regulations - November 9, 2020

As November 9, 2020, self-isolation guidelines have changed in Nova Scotia.

If you enter Nova Scotia from outside of Atlantic Canada for non-essential purposes, you must self-isolate alone (or with those you have travelled with) for 14-days. Non-essential travel means travel not related to an essential job (like rotational workers or specialized workers) or compassionate exceptions like attending a family member’s funeral.

If your only option is to stay with someone else, that means everyone living in that household must self-isolate. Self-isolation means staying at home and avoiding contact with other people to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

During the 14-day self-isolation you and others in the home cannot go to work, school, the grocery store, or go for a walk. Everyone must stay on their property for the full 14-day self-isolation period.

This change does not impact those who are exempt from the self-isolation requirement under the Order, granted an exception from the self-isolation requirement, or have a modified self-isolation including rotational workers, specialized workers, or anyone granted a compassionate exception.

Provincial State of Emergency

On 22 March 2020, the Government of Nova Scotia declared a provincial state of emergency to help contain the spread of COVID-19. The state of emergency has been extended until noon on 6 September 2020.

https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/docs/Ministers-renewal-Aug-23-Sept-6.pdf

Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan

Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan will be updated to mandate non-medical mask use for students in Grades 4 to 12 while in school.

All students in Grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a mask inside schools, except if they are seated at their desks while two metres apart and facing in the same direction. They must also be worn in hallways and other common areas if a two-metre distance can’t be maintained.

Students who travel by bus will now need to wear their mask until they get off the bus and can clean their hands and safely store their mask.
Additional measures and information for families include:

✅ A school-by-school ventilation assessment will take place to ensure equipment is operating properly and in good condition, and that windows can be opened.
✅ Masks and hand-sanitizer are starting to arrive at schools. All students and staff will receive two cloth masks. Disposable masks will also be available if a student forgets, loses, or soils their mask during the school day.
✅ Resources for families and students are currently available at novascotia.ca/backtoschool with more to be added.
✅ Regional Centres for Education and the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial, will continue to communicate with families and principals will reach out to families with specific information about their school closer to September.
✅ Before and After School Programs will be offered in accordance with public health guidelines that are currently in development.
✅ Schools, with the support of public health, will notify families as soon as they become aware of a COVID-19 case in their school, along with what measures will need to be taken.
✅ A Return to Sport school sports schedule and protocols are in the final stage of development and will be communicated to schools by the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation.

For more information on post-secondary education, prevention plans and pre-primary program please visit https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/education/

Province Announces Mandatory Masks in Indoor Public Places

Premier Stephen McNeil and Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health for Nova Scotia, announced today, July 24, that masks will become mandatory in most indoor public places starting July 31.

“As we open our economy, our schools and our communities, we must continue to be vigilant to minimize the impact of a second wave of COVID-19,” said Premier McNeil. “Wearing a non-medical mask in most indoor public places is a key part of how we protect each other and support our local businesses so they can stay open for the long run.”

Indoor public places include:

  • retail businesses
  • shopping centres
  • personal services businesses such as hair and nail salons, spas, body art facilities, except during services that require removing a mask
  • restaurants and bars, except while people are eating or drinking
  • places of worship or faith gatherings
  • places for cultural or entertainment services or activities such as movie theatres, concerts and other performances
  • places for sports and recreational activities such as a gym, pool or indoor tennis facility, except while doing an activity where a mask cannot be worn
  • places for events such as conferences and receptions
  • municipal or provincial government locations offering services to the public
  • common areas of tourist accommodations such as lobbies, elevators and hallways
  • common areas of office buildings such as lobbies, elevators and hallways, but not private offices
  • public areas of a university or college campus, such as library or student union building, but not classrooms, labs, offices or residences
  • train or bus stations, ferry terminals and airports
  • Children under two are exempt, as well as children aged two to four when their caregiver cannot get them to wear a mask. People with a valid medical reason for not wearing a mask are exempt. Schools, daycares and day camps continue to follow their reopening plans.

People are asked to use their own masks. Government will help with initial supplies of masks for people who cannot bring their own.

“Nova Scotians have made a habit of all the other core public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and now it’s time to also make a habit of wearing a non-medical mask in most indoor public settings,” said Dr. Strang. “I have confidence that Nova Scotians will do the right thing and take care of each other by wearing masks in these settings.”

Students Return to School in September

Public school students across the province will return to class on Tuesday, Sept 8.

The back to school plan is supported by public health, the IWK Health Centre and education partners.

“Children need safe and supportive learning environments and that means being back in school with their peers,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Childhood Development.” Our plan supports the full, safe return of students and staff, while allowing us to adapt how students will learn if anything changes.”

Developed with survey feedback from more than 28,000 parents and students, and input from union and education partners, the plan outlines public health guidelines and enhanced safety measures for students and staff. It also includes measures to enhance student learning.

“Our current epidemiology shows that virus activity remains low in the province and education leaders have developed a plan with appropriate public health measures for returning to the classroom,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. “I’m comfortable with our schools reopening and my public health team and I will continue to work with education leaders to keep our students, teachers and other school staff safe.”

While overall, learning at-home during the spring went well, parents said there were some challenges, like access to technology. Government has invested $4 million to secure 14,000 computers to support student learning for those with limited or no access to technology.

In September, students, families and staff can expect:Regional Centres for Education and the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial will have plans to support enhanced cleaning, physical distancing and situations specific to schools in their area

  • classrooms to be reorganized to increase spacing
  • treating a class as a bubble, to minimize contact with other students
  • enhanced cleaning on school buses. All school bus riders and drivers will need to wear a mask
  • all staff and students in high school will be required to wear a mask in school spaces where social distancing is not possible, for example hallways and common areas. Students and staff do not have to wear a mask in class, unless they want to, or if they are working with a student whose individual program plan requires a mask be worn
  • regular handwashing or hand sanitizing by students and staff before entering school for classes and throughout the day
  • in-school assemblies and other large gatherings will not be permitted
  • cafeterias and school food programs will deliver food to students. Students will eat lunch at their desks
  • students will have the opportunity to engage in all subject areas, although some subject areas may look different

The plan includes contingencies if it becomes necessary to adjust based on public health advice.