On Monday, Public Health confirmed the first cases of COVID-19 in two of our schools. Last night, another case was identified. As cases in Nova Scotia begin to rise, this is not unexpected. Our schools reflect their surrounding communities.
I recognize that students, families and staff throughout our system are feeling anxious and uncertain. This news is a stark reminder to each of us to follow all Public Health protocols in school, at home, and in the community. Our shared health is our shared responsibility.
Please know that when a COVID-19 case is identified that impacts one of our schools, HRCE takes direction from Public Health.
What happened this week?
- There were three confirmed cases of COVID-19: one at Graham Creighton Junior High and two at Auburn Drive High. Two cases were identified on Monday, November 16 and a third on Thursday, November 19.
- HRCE shared information with the school community on behalf of Public Health on the evening of Monday, November 16 and the evening of Thursday, November 19.
- Public Health notified all potential close contacts in both school communities. Any individual deemed to be a potential close contact of a case is self-isolating.
- A plan for continued education was put in place for students required to self-isolate.
- Today, in consultation with Public Health, Auburn Drive High and Graham Creighton Junior High were closed to students until December 7.
- Students in these two schools will be supported with at-home learning. Staff will work from school unless they have been notified by Public Health that they should self-isolate.
- All community bookings in Auburn Drive High and Graham Creighton Junior High are cancelled until Monday, December 7.
Where can you learn more about Public Health’s response to COVID-19 in schools?
Attached is a Nova Scotia Health Authority flow chart that illustrates how Public Health officials respond to reported cases of COVID-19 in a school community. It illustrates some of the very specific steps that Public Health follows, including the communication components. I’ve also attached for your information, a Frequently Asked Questions document that answers some specific questions related to a confirmed case of COVID-19 in a school.
What can we do in this moment?
Please take the opportunity to:
- Review with your children/students the public health measures that are in place to keep us all safe. Dr. Strang indicated this week that we are seeing community spread in Halifax. We need to be vigilant – including frequent handwashing/sanitizing and wearing non-medical masks.
- Assure your children / students that school is a safe place to be. Young people look to the adults in their lives to guide them on how to react during worrying and stressful times.
We know we are stronger when we work together. Take care of yourself, your families, your students and your colleagues!
Regional Executive Director of Education