Back to School

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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.

End-of-Year Assessment Update

Updated June 2, 2021. Read more >
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

Are masks mandatory and who will need to wear one?
Updated: April 23, 2021
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 and staff must wear a mask indoors when they cannot physically distance by 2 metres.
Will my child be sent home if there is a positive COVID-19 case in their school?
Updated: November 16, 2020
If a student or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, NSHA Public Health will work with the school to determine if any other students or staff are close contacts. A close contact is someone who has come into close contact (within 2 metres / 6 feet) for a long time (15 minutes or more), with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

NSHA Public Health will contact all close contacts, first by letter and then by phone, to arrange testing and to give them information on what to do next. Close contacts must self-isolate for 14 days.
What happens when a staff member or student tests positive for COVID-19 in a school?
Updated: November 16, 2020
If someone in a school tests positive for COVID-19, they will be contacted by Public Health in the Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA). They will be told to self-isolate until NSHA Public Health tells them they are no longer infectious.

At the same time, NSHA Public Health will work with the school to let families know about the case and information on what to do next. Part of the work that NSHA Public Health will do, is to identify any close contacts of the student or staff member and notify them.
Does reopening school gyms for community use pose a risk?
Updated: November 5, 2020
Access to school gyms for community physical activity has resumed because we have a plan to do it safely.

Regional centres for education and Conseil scolaire acadien provincial will hire more staff to ensure that students are coming to a school that has been cleaned following public health COVID-19 protocols.

Cleaners will continue to follow the cleaning practices they’ve been using, including ensuring high touch surfaces are cleaned often. Any spaces used by community members will be appropriately cleaned before students access it the following day.

RCEs/CSAP will also have funds to restrict access to the gym and washrooms by putting up barriers or hiring supervision or other staff to be onsite.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.


Helpful resources to support heading back to school.

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