Premier Stephen McNeil announced plans today, March 30, to support ongoing student learning as Nova Scotians deal with COVID-19.
Following the recommendation of Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s chief medical officer of health, all public schools and licensed child care providers will remain closed until at least May 1.
No student will be penalized because of COVID-19. Students and families will have access to e-learning and at-home learning materials will be provided for students without internet access. Families who feel at-home learning may be a burden are asked to speak to their child’s teacher.
“These are extraordinary times and that requires innovation and co-operation.” said Premier McNeil. “We are focused on math and literacy, we are making sure Grade 12s who were on track to graduate will graduate, but we also want to make sure families have what they need to support learning at home.”
Students who were on track to graduate will graduate and Grade 12 students who need a preliminary paper-based transcript for bursaries, scholarships or university entrance will receive one by contacting their Regional Centre for Education or Conseil scolaire acadien provincial (CSAP). Students who were on track to proceed to their next grade will move to their next grade on time. Students will receive end of year report cards.
During the ongoing closure of public schools:
— all Grade primary to 9 students will receive at-home learning packages distributed bi-weekly
— students in grades 10 to 12 who require at-home learning packages will work with their individual teachers to address their specific needs; additional information on distribution will be forwarded to schools
— learning will be assignment and project focused
— a dedicated learning website for families is available at https://curriculum.novascotia.
— all school trips planned for May and June are cancelled
— Provincial Assessments, Nova Scotia Exams and final exams in all courses are cancelled
— Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française (DELF) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams are cancelled
— students in grades 9 to 12 will receive additional access to the Homework Hub, a free online resource and tutoring for math
— teachers will connect directly with students and families to help support learning
Students and families will continue to have access to student support services. SchoolsPlus facilitators and community outreach workers continue to support students and families via phone, email and text. The facilitators are also available to accept new referrals to support students and families not currently using SchoolsPlus. Mental health clinicians continue to work with students and their families by phone, secure video conferencing or in person, where possible. For those who require additional supports, ask your teacher or principal and they will connect you to the support you need.
To better support students and adults with special needs, the province is modifying existing policies and agreements to allow teaching assistants and child and youth care support workers to provide paid respite care in the community.
Next year, teachers will help students prepare for their new grade and conduct additional review.
“Nova Scotia’s Learning Continuity Plan is meant to be flexible and provide the most support possible to students in these challenging times.,” said Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. “Co-operation is critical in making this work and I want to thank teachers, principals, unions and administrators for keeping a shared focus on the health and education of our students.”
Additionally, the province has created an online tool to help businesses and non-profits clarify if they may remain open and how they can comply with public health orders and workplace safety requirements. This tool is available at https://covid19-employer-asses
Five new cases were identified Sunday, March 29. Most are connected to travel or a known case. To date, Nova Scotia has 5,054 negative test results and 127 confirmed cases.
It is imperative that anyone who has travelled outside Nova Scotia self-isolate for 14 days and for everyone to adhere to the five-person social gathering limit. As always, any Nova Scotian who develops symptoms of acute respiratory illness should limit their contact with others until they feel better. If they are concerned about COVID-19 they can go to https://811.novascotia.ca/ and use the online assessment tool. Anyone referred to an assessment site by 811 will be tested.
Nova Scotians can find accurate, up-to-date information, handwashing posters and fact sheets at https://novascotia.ca/coronavi
— testing numbers are updated daily at https://novascotia.ca/coronavi
— Nova Scotia’s Health Protection Act gives the chief medical officer of health the authority to give advice to protect public health and decrease risk to public health presented by communicable diseases such as COVID-19
— a state of emergency was declared under the Emergency Management Act on March 22 and remains in effect until noon, April 5
— under the state of emergency government can control or prohibit assembly as well as travel to and from areas. It can also coordinate commerce activity and emergency responders
— a new virus like COVID-19 can cause fear. Nova Scotians are encouraged to support each other and use technology to stay connected
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada toll-free information line 1-833-784-4397
The Mental Health Provincial Crisis Line is available 24/7 to anyone experiencing a mental health or addictions crisis, or someone concerned about them, by calling 1-888-429-8167 (toll free).
Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free).