Nova Scotia unveils COVID-19 exposure response plan for schools

(Submitted/Government of Nova Scotia)

The province has unveiled its response plan to a potential COVID-19 exposure in school.

A release states managing a case or cases of the virus in a school will depend on the level of exposure and the risk to students, staff or essential visitors.

Government says each of the three risk levels, high, moderate and low, have a corresponding response based on public health guidance.

An individual is at high risk if they were in close and prolonged contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 up to 48 hours before symptoms presented, which could include everyone in the class.

The province says an individual at moderate risk has not had prolonged contact and maintained physical distance from the confirmed case, and would include all students and staff in a shared space who were able to physically distance.

An individual at low risk would have had limited or casual contact with a confirmed case, which would include incidental contact such as walking past/near the individual in a hallway or other common area.

Public Health will immediately launch an investigation to determine and arrange testing for close contacts of a confirmed case, who will then be required to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

Once tested, a negative result means the 14-day isolation needs to be completed, while a positive test will require isolation as a confirmed case.

Students who are required to self-isolate will be supported to continue their learning until they can return to school.

Government says all families in the school will be notified about the exposure and the measures being taken and school closures due to COVID-19 will occur on the advice of Public Health only if there is determined to be a risk to all staff and students.

A student who becomes ill while at school will be monitored and isolated from other students and a family member will be required to collect them.

The Department of Education says the Provincial Student Attendance and Engagement Policy is being relaxed this year, so no student will be penalized due to illness.

Modified guidelines are in place to support the delivery of music class, band and physical education, while families with children with special needs will continue to be supported.