HRM schools close April 27, move to at-home learning

(Updated to include letter sent to families from HRCE)

All public schools in Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and surrounding areas will close Tuesday, April 27, and move to at-home learning beginning Thursday, April 29.

Out of an abundance of caution, the province is mandating that students in public schools within the restricted areas in HRM identified by public health learn from home.

“The safety and well-being of everyone in our schools is our main concern. Every decision we make for our schools is out of an abundance of caution and in consultation with public health,” said Derek Mombourquette, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “Moving schools in HRM and surrounding areas to at-home learning is a necessary step at this important juncture. I know this will be difficult for some families, but Nova Scotians have shown time and time again that they’ll step up in our fight against this virus.”

Families will receive an update from their school centre or principal later today. More information about a return to school date will be released Friday, May 7.

The decision impacts all pre-primary children and grades primary to 12 public school students in Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE), as well as Conseil scolaire acadian provincial (CSAP) schools and schools in the Enfield, Elmsdale and Mount Uniacke areas with the Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education (CCRCE).

“The best place for children and youth is in school, for their social, physical and mental well-being,” said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health. “That said, with the number of community and school cases rising and the impact on students, teachers and staff, I support the decision to move to at home learning in the greater Halifax area, as an additional measure. If we all do our part, our kids may be able to return to the classroom soon.”

In addition to all of the schools in HRCE, the following CSAP and CCRCE schools will move to at-home learning:
— École Bois-Joli, Dartmouth
— École des Beaux-Marais, Porters Lake
— École Beaubassin, Halifax
— École du Carrefour, Dartmouth
— École du Grand-Portage, Lower Sackville
— École Mer et Monde, Halifax
— École secondaire du Sommet, Halifax
— École secondaire Mosaïque, Dartmouth
— Enfield District Elementary, Enfield
— Elmsdale District Elementary, Elmsdale
— Hants East Rural High, Milford Station
— Maple Ridge Elementary, Lantz
— Riverside Education Centre, Milford
— Uniacke District School, Mount Uniacke

HRM students who are currently learning at home due to existing closures will continue learning online. 

Teachers will follow the curriculum guidelines established for at-home learning, which includes dedicated online teaching time for students. More information on at-home learning is available for parents at . Additional information for teachers, including the detailed Learning from Home document for educators, can be found at .

Mr. Mombourquette said Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan prepared teachers and staff for at-home learning. The comprehensive plan was developed in consultation with unions and principals and included feedback generated by families related to at-home learning in the spring. Teachers also received a week of professional development in January, which included teaching online.

Families who need additional supports to help during at-home learning will be provided with them and should not hesitate to reach out to their child’s teacher or principal.

The province will continue to monitor in-person schooling outside HRM. In-person schooling remains the best place for children’s social, emotional, physical and mental well-being according to health experts, including Nova Scotia Public Health, Dr. Robert Strang and the IWK Health Centre’s Pediatric Advisory Table. 

HRCE release:

Today, the province made an announcement that includes all schools in the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) pivoting to at-home learning for a period of two weeks. Schools will close to students at the end of day today (Monday, April 26, 2021).

What do you need to know?

Many schools have already been supporting students with at-home learning due to closure. They will continue to do so.

  • Schools in the Auburn DriveCole HarbourDartmouth and Prince Andrew Family of Schools, as well as BFEC – Forsyth Campus, will begin online learning on Wednesday, April 28 as previously scheduled and announced.
  • Schools that are closing effective today will begin online learning on Thursday, April 29.

You can expect a combination of real-time instruction delivered by teachers and self-directed learning. Students will have opportunities to engage virtually with their peers, their teachers, and all other supports. For an overview of what at-home learning will look like, click here. I would also encourage you to revisit the Back to School Plan, where you can find more information and resources for you and your family.

If you are looking for information about curriculum, physical activity, mental health or for technology support, click here.

If your family has emergency food needs as a result of this closure, please call 211. A navigator will be able to help by arranging for an emergency food box to be delivered to your home free of charge by Feed Nova Scotia.

How can we stop the spread of COVID-19?

Please continue to monitor yourself, and your child(ren) daily for signs or symptoms of COVID-19, using Nova Scotia’s Daily Checklist.

Get tested. Public Health is encouraging everyone to test regularly for COVID-19, even if you have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. Visit the Nova Scotia Health Authority website for more information about testing.

Thanks to everyone for following the Public Health guidelines that have allowed students in Nova Scotia to be in school this year. Keep it up—we’ll get there again.

Stay well and stay safe. Your next update will come from your child’s teacher/school.

Together, we’ve got this.

Elwin LeRoux
Regional Executive Director
Halifax Regional Centre for Education 

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