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Return to School on March 21

March 10, 2022
On March 21, Nova Scotia is moving into Phase 3 of its reopening plan. This means that all Public Health restrictions will be lifted when your child returns to school after March Break. 
What does this mean for our schools?
I am sharing this information to provide you with clarity.
Public Health continues to remind us to follow core measures. They include getting vaccinated, staying home if you are sick, self-isolating as per current Public Health advice, washing/sanitizing hands frequently and cleaning high-touch surfaces. It also continues to encourage masking. You can find the most up-to-date Public Health guidance for schools on the Back to School website. Phase 3 details will be on the website as of March 21.
It is also important to remember to follow the self-isolation and testing requirements. You can find more information here.
When students and staff return to school on March 21, unvaccinated staff who are currently on unpaid administrative leave pursuant to the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Protocol in High Risk Settings in the education sector will be able to return to their workplaces. Service providers can also allow their employees to begin providing service to schools/offices again.   
Additionally, proof of vaccination will not be required for visitors and volunteers in schools.
Effective March 21, masking will be optional in schools and on school buses. We know that the removal of restrictions, including mandatory masks, may feel unusual, especially in the beginning. Wearing a mask is an individual choice. Staff may not request that students, other staff or any other individuals wear a mask. Please respect individual choices and remember to treat one another with kindness and understanding as we all adjust.
While masking is optional, Public Health recommends wearing a mask indoors and on school buses. Whether staff or students choose to wear a mask or not, they will be supported in their decision. There is a good supply of 3-ply masks that will continue to be available for staff and students.
There is no requirement for class cohorting. Schools should continue to minimize congestion in common areas, make the best use of available space and use outdoor areas for learning and well-being.
Public Health is recommending the use of rapid tests to help protect people at increased risk of severe disease, such as those who are older or immunocompromised. These people and those who live with them or are around them are encouraged to do occasional or regular rapid testing, even if they don’t have symptoms. Schools are at the heart of our communities, so rapid test kits will continue to be provided to students and staff on an ongoing basis, depending on supply from the federal government.
Public Health does not recommend testing for people who have recovered from COVID-19 within the past 90 days. Anyone who recovered in the past 90 days is asked:
  • not to take rapid tests and leave supply for those who have not yet contracted COVID-19; or
  • take the rapid tests and give them to family or friends who need access to rapid tests.
Principals, teachers and staff may invite non-essential visitors into schools as necessary, beginning March 21. Visitors will not be required to show proof of vaccination.
Schools can begin planning graduation ceremonies, as restrictions have lifted for large gatherings. However, should Public Health need to reimplement, plans for large gatherings at the end of the school year may need to change accordingly.
Masks will be optional for those entering and riding a school bus; however, Public Health recommends wearing one.
What’s next?
These are big changes. Adjusting to these changes will take time. I encourage you to take time over the break to talk with your child about what school will look like when they return on March 21. Please remind them that masking is an individual choice.
It’s been a long two years living with uncertainty and adapting to constant change. Thank you for all you have done to support your children – and our schools through this journey. Remember, we are still in this together, even as we move into this next phase of living with COVID-19. We’re here for you and your family.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher or principal.

Have a wonderful break,
Elwin LeRoux
Regional Executive Director