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Back to School
The best place for children to learn is in a safe and supportive environment surrounded by their teachers and friends.

Illustration - cover of the Back to School Plan

Back-To-School Plan

The plan makes it possible for children and students from pre-primary to grade 12, to return to school in September.

Although school routines will look different this year, students will continue to receive the same quality education, services and supports as before COVID-19.

The plan has contingencies in place to support learning should a second wave occur, including scenarios for if there is COVID-19 activity in a specific part of the province, or if there is an outbreak in a specific school.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions about Back to school?

Find the answers here. 

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Top Questions

Not everyone can wear a mask. What will happen to those children/students? Are they required to have a medical exemption?
Updated: October 7, 2020
There may be a small number of children and students with sensory or health issues who cannot tolerate wearing a mask. A medical exemption or proof is not required. We must be respectful of children and students in this situation. Parents are encouraged to consult their school to develop a plan for their child.
Are masks mandatory and who will need to wear one?
Updated: October 7, 2020
The return to school plan includes mandatory mask use as one measure to reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. All children and students, regardless of grade, who ride a school bus must wear a mask on the bus. At school, all students in grades 4 to 12, and all staff, must wear a mask indoors when they cannot physically distance by 2 metres.
Will students be provided masks, or must they supply their own?
Updated: October 21, 2020
All students will be provided with two cloth masks. Students should have access to a second mask during the day should their mask become moist or soiled. Disposable masks will be available to those students who forget their mask.
Why is mask use not part of the plan for Pre-primary to grade 3? Why not mask all children and students.
Updated: October 7, 2020
The back to school plan was developed in consultation with Nova Scotia Public Health and medical experts at the IWK Health Centre. Public health updated their guidelines on mask use in schools to include grades 4 to 12. This is based on new guidelines released by the Public Health Agency of Canada who recommend masks for children ages 10 and up, because they may be more likely than younger students to transmit the virus. As we continue to learn more, guidance for mask use may change.
What happens if a child begins to show symptoms at school?
Updated: October 21, 2020
If a student feels unwell or exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 while in school:
  • The student will wash their hands and be provided a mask to wear.
  • They will be escorted to an isolation room/area in the school.
  • The school will call the parent/guardian to come pick up the student.
  • The student will be monitored until a parent/guardian can arrive to pick them up.
  • You will be advise to complete the COVID-19 self-assessment online ( or call 811 if you cannot access the online assessment tool.
Families are encouraged to review the fact sheet: Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Schools:
What is going to happen to children who have a runny nose because of allergies, or a chronic cough, or other chronic ailment? Will they keep getting sent home? Do we keep them home?
Updated: October 7, 2020
If a child has a chronic cough, seasonal allergies, or other known medical condition, families are encouraged to bring that to the attention of the teacher or school. Children are not required to stay home if their chronic symptoms are not new, are normal for them, and they are otherwise well. Parents are encouraged to monitor their children for new or worsening symptoms.
How are you going to physically distance a class of 20+ students?
Updated: August 28, 2020
Learning spaces will be re-arranged to allow for maximum space. If physical distancing is not possible, students in grades 4 to 12 will be required to wear a mask.
Will immunocompromised students be provided an online alternative?
Updated: October 7, 2020
We know there is a very small number of children that will not be able to attend school this year for medical reasons. Schools have existing processes in place to support students in these and other situations.
Can students learn from home if they have an immunocompromised or elderly family member or friend?
Updated: October 7, 2020
Students with immunocompromised family members have been supported to learn in class prior to COVID-19. This support will continue. If you are concerned about a family member who is immunocompromised, please contact your healthcare provider for advice. Families are also encouraged to contact their school to learn more about the public health measure in place to support students return to in class learning.
If students have to stay home as a precaution every time they do not feel well, what will that mean for their attendance?
Updated: October 7, 2020
No student will be penalized for attendance if they miss school because they are unwell and need to stay home. Loss of credit provisions in the policy will be suspended.


Helpful resources to support heading back to school.

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