As we wrap up the first month of a new school year, I want to thank you for your ongoing support for a successful start. Everyone’s collective efforts to ensure a safe and healthy school environment for our children, staff, and families is greatly appreciated.
As the COVID-19 fourth wave impacts our communities, and subsequently our schools, we need to continue to adapt to our changing pandemic circumstances, and we also need to adopt new health protocols to protect one another.
Today, to enhance our safety, the province announced a series of public health measures and initiatives as well as a public health order. Please click on the links below to read the news releases:
Vaccination Mandate: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210929007
Rapid Test Kits for Pre-Primary to Grade 6: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210929008
Phase 5: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20210929005
What does this mean for schools?
Masks will continue to be required for anyone in a school building or on a school bus for the foreseeable future. As we currently do, masks may be removed when eating and drinking, participating in physical activity, playing an instrument, and during mask breaks when appropriately distanced from others.
Mandatory Vaccination for Staff, Outside Service Providers and Volunteers
Today, the province announced that staff and individuals providing services in public schools will be required to show proof of vaccination by November 30, 2021. If an employee is not fully vaccinated by Nov. 30 and does not have a valid medical exemption, they will be placed on unpaid administrative leave until they become fully vaccinated. Full vaccination will be a hiring condition for new staff.
Proof of Vaccination Protocol
The Premier and Dr. Strang reminded Nova Scotians that starting on October 4, people who are 12 and older will need to provide proof of full vaccination to participate in most events and activities that bring groups of people together.
The proof of vaccination protocol will require staff, students, volunteers, parents, guardians and family members to show proof of vaccination for indoor and outdoor extracurricular school-based activities including sports.
Children who turn 12 between Jan. 1 and Oct. 4 this year will have until Dec. 31 to get vaccinated to be eligible to attend extracurricular activities; children who turn 12 after Oct. 4 will have three months from their birthday.
School staff and families can expect to receive more information on Friday, Oct. 1.
Rapid Test Kits for Pre-Primary to Grade 6
Children in Pre-Primary to Grade six in Nova Scotia’s public school system will soon receive free COVID-19 rapid testing kits to enhance health and safety for unvaccinated children and their families.
The pilot program – called Test to Protect Kids — will see our province’s schools distribute 80,000 rapid test kits (each kit contains four rapid tests and instructions) to our children and students, in effort to make testing more accessible to families and support early detection of COVID-19.
Schools will distribute the kits within the next two weeks.
More details will be shared with families in the near future.
Core Public Health Measures
I offer my sincere thanks to all of you for your cooperation in following the core public health measures in place for schools. As a reminder, these are:
- get vaccinated if eligible
- stay home if feeling sick
- wear a mask
- frequent hand hygiene, and
- sanitizing of high-touch surfaces
We will continue to keep you updated.
Stay well and stay safe,
Regional Executive Director
South Shore Regional Centre for Education