Surprise School Break Extension for Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia students will enjoy a little longer Christmas break. Dr. Robert Strang and Education Minister Becky Durban announced the holiday break is extended by four days to January 10th.
The move follows consecutive days of five hundred plus new cases of COVID across the province.
The minister says, “We know that the best place for students is in school where they have continued access to learning and the supports and services they need for their emotional and mental well-being.”
The health leaders say the extended break allows families to monitor students for COVID-19 symptoms before they return to school. It also allows more time for schools to ensure they have enhanced public health measures in place.
The Chief Medical Officer of Health says, “We're at the peak of the most significant wave that we've seen yet and it's impacting how we manage and respond to COVID-19.” Dr. Robert Strang added, "We've already changed our approach to case management and testing to focus on those at highest risk of severe disease and hospitalization.”
Strang says, “We need to balance the risk of spread in schools with the significant harms that come from not being in school and learning at home. Schools will have layers of protection in place that will help minimize spread and keep students and staff safe in school.”
While students return to class on Monday, January 10, teachers and other school staff go back on Tuesday, January 4 to prepare for the return of students, refresh COVID-19 safety training and professional development, along with more extensive cleaning of all facilities.
Public Health is focusing its efforts on those at highest risk of severe disease and hospitalization. Those not considered high risk are being asked to test at home and self-manage, including contacting all close contacts. This approach will be extended to schools.
Information about testing, self-isolation, and case management is available at https://www.nshealth.ca/coronavirus.
On their return to classes, students will face new and stronger public health measures. This will include measures to control the movement of students and mixing of groups to minimize the spread of the Omicron variant:
- strict cohorting (student groupings)
- no large assemblies, gatherings or events
- no non-essential visitors
- reminding families to keep students home when they're sick
- proper masks
In fact, all students will be advised to wear the 3-ply cloth masks that were distributed at the start of the school year, or an equivalent. More 3-ply masks have been ordered and all staff and students will each receive an additional 3-ply mask.
One and two-ply masks do not offer sufficient protection. Masks will continue to be required at all times indoors, except while eating and drinking.
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