September 29, 2021
Good Afternoon SRCE Families:
I want to thank you for another successful first month of the school year. 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 and a public health order. You may read the news releases at:
- 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
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 Tuesday, November 30, 2021.
If an employee is not fully vaccinated by Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 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
Premier Houston and Dr. Strang reminded Nova Scotians that starting on Monday, October 4, 2021, 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, 2021, and October 4, 2021, will have until December 31, 2021, to get vaccinated to be eligible to attend extracurricular activities; children who turn 12 after October 4, 2021, will have three months from their birthday.
School staff and families can expect to receive more information on Friday, October 1, 2021.
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 in a move to enhance health and safety for unvaccinated children and their families.
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 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 a set of instructions on how to complete the test.
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.
Our shared health is our shared responsibility!
Stay well and stay safe,
Regional Executive Director of Education