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Update on Public Health Protocols for Schools

September 29, 2021


As the fourth wave of COVID-19 impacts our communities, and subsequently our schools, the Province is making changes to our public health protocols.

At this afternoon’s COVID-19 briefing, Premier Tim Houston and Dr. Robert Strang announced a series of public health measures, initiatives and a new public health order. Each has an impact on public education. They are outlined below.

You can find links to the news releases at the bottom of this message.

What does this mean for schools?

Mask Use

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

Staff and individuals providing services in public schools will be required to show proof of vaccination by November 30.

If an employee is not fully vaccinated by November 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 also 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 January 1 and October 4 this year will have until December 31 to get vaccinated to be eligible to attend extracurricular activities; children who turn 12 after October 4 will have three months from their birthday.

School staff and families can expect to receive more information on Friday, October 1.

Rapid Test Kits for Pre-Primary to Grade 6

Children in Pre-Primary to Grade 6 in Nova Scotia’s public school system will receive free COVID-19 rapid testing kits.  The pilot program – called Test to Protect Kids – will see Nova Scotia schools distribute 80,000 rapid test kits (each kit contains four rapid tests) to our children and students in an effort to make testing more accessible to families and support early detection of COVID-19.

Within the next two weeks, schools will distribute the kits to families who want them. Each package will contain four take-home rapid COVID-19 tests with instructions on how to complete the test.

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;
  • Stay home if feeling sick;
  • Wear a mask;
  • Frequent hand hygiene; and
  • Sanitizing of high-touch surfaces. 

Thank you for continuing to do what it takes to keep our school communities safe and healthy. Our shared health is our shared responsibility!

Here are the links to today’s provinical news releases:

Vaccination Mandate Covers Healthcare, Long-Term Care Workers, Paramedics, Teachers, Others

New Take-Home Test Kits for Pre-primary to Grade 6

Phase 5 Starting with Cautious Approach 

As always, when new information becomes available, we’ll share it with you.

Stay well,

Elwin LeRoux
Regional Executive Director
Halifax Regional Centre for Education