COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus Update

COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus Update

May 19: School Building Access Information

Dear Parents and Guardians,

Since the province announced that formal learning will end on June 5, we know many families have been interested in picking up their child’s belongings from school.

Starting the week of May 25, your school principal will reach out to you about an appointment to come to the school. Access to school buildings will begin on June 8, after formal learning ends.  Many students also have items like technology, library books, or an instrument, to return to school. This date allows students to return items after formal learning ends, at the same time they pick up belongings.

We are working with school staff to ensure Public Health protocols are followed when families and staff access schools. This includes social distancing and limiting the number of people in an area. School access will be limited to a single student or family member, and will be by appointment only.

Your school principal will be in touch to share plans for your child’s school. Thank you for your patience, and for working together with us as we finalize plans to ensure everyone’s health and safety.

Sincerely,

Dave Jones
Regional Executive Director of Education

 

Previous information shared with parents/guardians, students and school communities

May 8: School Closure Update

Dear Families:

Today, Premier Stephen McNeil announced that students will not be returning to classrooms this school year and that formal learning will end as of June 5. The Premier shared disappointment that the graduating class of 2020 will not end their year as normal and offered reassurances that grad celebrations will be planned when it is safe to do so.

I would like to join the Premier in thanking parents, guardians, and family members for doing their best to support children’s learning.

You can find the provincial news release here: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20200508005 

We will continue offering opportunities for students to engage in learning at home through assignments and activities provided by teachers until June 5. After June 5, teachers will focus on assessing student progress for year-end report cards.

You likely have questions about what happens next. We are working with our colleagues at the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to provide more information soon.

I wanted to make sure you received this news today. Please know I will share more information with you as it becomes available. 

I know this has been a challenging time for families, and I want to thank you for all you are doing to stay connected with your child’s school to support your child’s learning. Please continue to do your best to keep your child engaged in learning, in a way that is right for you and your family.

Sincerely,

Dave Jones 
Regional Executive Director of Education

 

Previous information shared with parents/guardians, students and school communities

April 28: School Closure Extended to May 22

Dear Families:

Premier Stephen McNeil has announced that all public schools will remain closed until May 22, 2020  as part of Nova Scotia's COVID-19 prevention measures. The province will reassess this as we get cloer to this date.

We recognize that these are extraordinary times for everyone. Supporting the learning and well-being of our students is a priority, but we must also follow advice from the province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, in order to protect the health of students, families, teachers, and all school staff.

Your child will continue to have access to e-learning and at-home options that will be assignment- and project-focused, so they may continue their education. Families of Pre-Primary to Grade 9 students can receive the At-Home Student Learning Packages online at curriculum.novascotia.ca/parentfamily-information. Families without access to technology can sign-up for home flyer delivery at saltwire.com/nshomelearning, or call 1-800-565-3339. If you already receive flyers you will receive the learning package. We understand this may be a stressful time for families, and the At-Home Learning Plan is not meant to add more stress. If you have concerns, please reach out to your child’s teacher or principal. Please know that supports you have been receiving from your child’s school will continue.

The Province has created a website with tips on reading, ideas for planning, and online tools at curriculum.novascotia.ca/learning-home.

We are all in this together. If your family needs support, your child’s school can put you in touch with resources within the school and in the community.

As always, thank you for working together with us for students.

Sincerely,

Dave Jones
Regional Executive Director of Education

 

Previous information shared with parents/guardians, students and school communities

April 3: Learning Plan Communication for Students and Families

Dear Students and Families,

We know these have been exceptional times, and we thank you for doing your part for the health of Nova Scotians.

Earlier this week, the province announced plans to support students and learning at home while school buildings remain closed until at least May 1. For a guide to Nova Scotia’s Learning Continuity Plan, visit https://www.ednet.ns.ca/learning_continuity.

In addition to supports offered by your teacher, beginning April 8, the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will distribute grade P-9 learning materials through store flyer packages every other week. These are delivered to most homes in Nova Scotia unless you have opted out of this service.

If you do not currently receive weekly flyers and want to activate delivery, please contact the Saltwire network:

  • 1-800-565-3339
  • saltwire.com/nshomelearning

Teachers will stay in touch with grade 10-12 students to support their learning. They are working on plans to offer support in various ways, including options for students without access to technology at home. We know that each family has unique needs and circumstances, and teachers will work with you to find an arrangement that is best for your family.

We also know that grade 12 students have questions about courses, graduation, and support for post-secondary applications. We have a document for Grade 12 students on our website that may help provide some answers: avrce.ca/grade12QandA. Staff connecting with students and families who do not have internet access will share this information, as well.

Please continue to stay in touch with teachers and administrators at your school. You can find school contact information at avrce.ca/our-schools. Teachers and school administrators are checking in with families, and are here to help you as we work together to support students and learning at home.

Sincerely,

Dave Jones
Regional Executive Director of Education

 

March 30: Provincial Announcement of At-Home Learning Plan, Public Schools Closed Until At Least May 1

Today, the province announced that public schools will remain closed until at least May 1, following the recommendation of Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health. The province also announced plans to support ongoing student learning as Nova Scotians deal with COVID-19.

Here are links to information related to today's announcement:

Letter to Families from Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill (PDF) 

Learning Plan for Students - Highlights (PDF)

News Release: Plan for At-Home Student Learning https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20200330004

 

March 30, 2020: Message from Dr. Robert Strang

Dear Parents/Guardians,

I hope that you and your family are well and staying healthy. I am writing to share an important message on behalf of Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Please find Dr. Strang’s message below, as well as a fact sheet attached to this email, for tips on discussing COVID-19 with children.

The health and safety of our students, staff and community is our priority during these unprecedented times. At the same time, we recognize the importance of keeping students engaged and learning.

Please be assured that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is working with partners and collaborating with us on a Learning Plan for students. Details will be shared with you in the near future. This Learning Plan will include opportunities for both e-learning and at-home options for those without access to high-speed Internet.

We also recognize the needs of our vulnerable learners, and so we are looking at how we can support families. Please know that there will be continued access to student support services, including SchoolsPlus.

All of our students are a priority, and we want to ensure students at every level can continue learning at home.

Thank you for taking a moment to read Dr. Strang’s message, and for working together with us in support of students.

Sincerely,
Dave Jones
Regional Executive Director of Education

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Please see the following message from Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health for the Province of Nova Scotia.

You can also view:

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My fellow Nova Scotians,

COVID-19 is an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation, and I recognize this is a scary time for Nova Scotians. Public health officials are working closely with our colleagues across the country and our partners in Nova Scotia to limit the spread of the virus and increase capacity within the health system to respond.

During this state of emergency, we must all work together to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here are important steps we are requiring all Nova Scotians to take:

  • Stay home as much as possible. When you are out, practice social distancing by limiting contact with other people (stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart) and have no more than 5 people together
  • Shop only for essentials, such as groceries and prescription medication and only have one person doing the shopping
  • If you’ve traveled outside the province, self-isolate for 14 days
  • If you feel unwell, go to 811.novascotia.ca and use the self-assessment questionnaire to find out if you need to call 811
  • Wash your hands often, avoid touching your face and clean surfaces regularly

I understand that this situation may be creating a lot of fear. This is normal. However, it’s important that we respond, not in fear, but with caring, a sense of community and common sense. No one person is responsible, but we can all be part of the solution. If someone in your community is self-isolating or ill, what they need is your support, compassion and understanding. I encourage you to:

  • Check in with those closest to you by phone, text or social media
  • Have a video chat with someone in isolation
  • Make sure your neighbours have what they need
  • Encourage people to get information from reliable sources, like: novascotia.ca/coronavirus

Following public health direction and supporting each other is how we will beat this virus.

For the latest information, advice and resources, visit:

Government of Nova Scotia: novascotia.ca/coronavirus
Government of Canada: https://canada.ca/coronavirus

For general information on novel coronavirus information, call:

Toll-free: 1-833-784-4397

For updates on social media, follow:

Government of Nova Scotia Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/nsgov/
Government of Nova Scotia Twitter account: https://twitter.com/nsgov
Department of Health and Wellness Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NovaScotiaHealthAndWellness/
Department of Health and Wellness Twitter account: https://twitter.com/nshealth

We will continue to provide you with the latest information to help you protect yourself, your family and community members. Thank you for your help in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in our province.

Dr. Robert Strang
Chief Medical Officer of Health
Province of Nova Scotia

 

 

March 20, 2020: Update for Students and Families

Dear Students and Families,

I know that COVID-19 has presented everyone with challenges. I want to thank all of you who are in self-isolation. You are helping everyone in our community stay safe. This email is to share information about some actions that are being planned for students.

First, I want to remind you that schools are closed until April 6 as part of the province-wide measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This closure will be reassessed as the situation changes. As March Break comes to a close, please know we continue to work with education leaders across the province and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, on plans to support students and learning. Beginning Monday, and over the next week, we will work with staff in schools to make specific plans to support students and learning during this closure.

Enabling students at all levels to continue learning at home is a priority for us, and we have been making these plans during March Break and will continue planning into next week. We will have more information to share with you in the coming days and weeks, and school principals will share details that are specific to your school. In particular, we are focusing on the needs of Grade 12 students so they can meet graduation requirements.

Please continue to follow advice from Nova Scotia Public Health, including the mandatory self-isolation for 14 days if you have travelled out of the country recently. You can find accurate, up-to-date information at:

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we adapt and respond to this extremely rare world event. We will continue to be in touch.

Sincerely, Dave Jones Regional Executive Director of Education

 

 

March 16, 2020: All Nova Scotia public schools will remain closed to students for two weeks following March Break

Dear Students and Families,

As you may have heard, the Province of Nova Scotia has announced that all public schools will be closed for two weeks following March Break. This is one of several province-wide prevention measures to reduce the risk to public health caused by COVID-19.

March Break continues this week (March 16-20). Schools will remain closed to students from March 23 to April 3. This closure will be reassessed at the end of this period.

We understand that any change to school schedules can be disruptive to families, however, this is an important way to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.

We also recognize that you may have questions about what this closure will mean for learning, completing courses, final exams, school calendars, etc. Please know that our staff and members of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development are working together to address these questions.

You can expect to receive an update from us by the end of the week. We will share any new information with you in several ways:

In the meantime, our SchoolsPlus teams are available to support you by directing you to resources in your community as they become available:

  • SchoolsPlus Annapolis 902-526-3919
  • SchoolsPlus Central and West Kings 902-844-2446
  • SchoolsPlus Northeast Kings Family of Schools 902-599-0387
  • SchoolsPlus Horton Family of Schools 902-599-3870
  • SchoolsPlus West Hants 902-790-6123

Please continue to follow all advice from Nova Scotia Public Health. Accurate, up-to-date information is available at:

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation as we work together to help each other stay as healthy and safe as possible.

Sincerely

Dave Jones
Regional Executive Director of Education

 

March 13, 2020: New Travel Protocols for Teachers, Students, Staff

COVID-19 has now been declared a Pandemic. As we deal with this extremely rare world event, we as Nova Scotians must take care of each other. We can do that by taking immediate steps to keep our schools safe.

To that end, the Province is directing public sector employees, including teachers, who travel outside Canada to stay at home and self-isolate away from the public for 14 days after returning to the country. These travel protocols also apply to all education and support staff, as well as students of Nova Scotia public schools who have travelled outside the country with their families.

In addition, the Province, CSAP and Regional Centres for Education are taking steps to protect students while keeping schools open. As of today, March 13, 2020, the following steps are being taken:

  • All out-of-province work travel is being suspended for teachers, administrators, and Regional Centre for Education staff until the end of April
  • All professional development activities are suspended until the end of April
  • All extra-curricular activities including sports are suspended until the end of April
  • The Provincial Attendance Policy and all regional and school-based initiatives that penalize students for staying home, or reward students for showing up to class, are suspended until the end of April,
  • All external meetings are suspended until the end of April
  • All co-operative education placements are suspended until the end of April
  • All assemblies or gathering of students are suspended until the end of April

For students who must self-isolate, learning supports will be announced soon.

A decision about future student trips and the above activities planned for May and June will be made in mid-April.

Currently, there are no cases of coronavirus in Nova Scotia. However, more cases are expected in Canada. Public health officials continue to advise Nova Scotians to stay at home and self-isolate if they feel unwell. Individuals who develop a fever, with a temperature 38°C or higher, and/or cough should call 811 for assessment.

Doctors also say the best advice for Nova Scotians continues to be to follow proper hygiene practices, which help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses like influenza and coronavirus.

Information is available at:

We are working closely with public health officials and the Province of Nova Scotia to keep our staff and our students as safe as possible. You will likely have more questions over the coming days, and we are committed to keeping you informed as new information becomes available.

Sincerely,

Dave Jones
Regional Executive Director of Education

 

March 10, 2020: Information for Families - Fact Sheet and Proper Hand Washing Guide

Dear Families:

Health officials advise the risk of COVID-19 remains low in Nova Scotia at this time. Nova Scotia Public Health says that frequent hand washing with soap and warm water remains the best defense against the spread of respiratory illnesses.

Nova Scotia Public Health has created the following resources to help you and your family stay informed:

The Proper Hand Washing guide will be posted throughout AVRCE schools. Please take the opportunity to practice proper hand washing at home. 

Here are other important messages that you can explain at home and we will reinforce in school:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water frequently.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue, and then throw the tissue away.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Don’t share food, utensils, water bottles or drinking glasses.
  • If the soap has run out in the school bathroom, tell someone in the office.

Remember, if your child is sick, keep them home from school.


For the latest information on COVID-19, please visit

We will continue to provide you with regular updates.

Thank you for being our partners in learning and good health.

 

 

March 4, 2020: Cancellation of School-Organized Student Trips to International Destinations

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students:

We recognize that international travel provides a valuable educational experience for students. However, we also know that the public health situation involving COVID-19 is evolving at a rapid pace. Given the importance of the well-being and safety of our students and chaperones, the Annapolis Valley Regional Centre for Education has made the difficult decision to cancel all school-organized student trips to international destinations between now and the end of April. Based on discussions with Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, we decided the best approach is a low-risk one, given that students are involved.

I appreciate how disappointing this decision is for everyone. If you were participating in a school-organized international trip in March or April, trip planners will be in touch with you with more information.

If you are participating in a school-organized trip to an international destination in May or June, no decision has been made related to cancellation. Our Regional Centre for Education will continue to monitor the situation and, after consulting with public health officials, we will provide further direction by April 9.

For those families travelling during March Break, we encourage you to monitor existing Government of Canada travel advisories – https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/latest-travel-health-advice.html  - to guide your decision making.

Public Health officials also recommend you follow prevention tips for the cold and flu season, which include the following:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue (throw the tissue away)
  • limit contact with others when you are sick
  • limit touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • don't share items that may have saliva on them like utensils and bottles/glasses

More information about COVID-19 is also available on the Government of Nova Scotia website at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/

We appreciate that this situation is evolving. Our commitment is to keep you informed throughout the school year.

Sincerely,

Dave Jones
Regional Executive Director of Education

 

 

February 28, 2020: School and Student Travel

Dear Parents, Guardians and Students:

We recognize that many schools, students and families are planning travel trips over the March Break holiday. We appreciate that many of you have questions related to travel and the novel coronavirus COVID-19. At AVRCE we have been in close contact with public health officials through the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, advises families and schools to make individual decisions about travel based on up-to-date information about COVID-19. Below, please find a link to a letter from Dr. Strang that provides links to valuable online resources to help guide your decision-making, including:

We appreciate that information about COVID-19 is evolving. Our commitment is to listen to public health officials and use their advice to guide our decision-making regarding school trips. We recognize that international travel provides a valuable educational experience for students. However, if we are advised that school trips should be cancelled, we will take immediate steps to meet that outcome.

Dr. Strang’s letter also provides important prevention tips for all Nova Scotians related to staying healthy during the cold and flu season. As he writes, these steps are important in preventing the spread of common respiratory illnesses, such as influenza, as well as COVID-19. These steps include the following:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer
  • cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue (throw the tissue away)
  • limit contact with others when you're sick
  • limit touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • don't share items that may have saliva on them like utensils and bottles/glasses
  • clean surfaces like taps, doorknobs, and countertops often

Our schools are also focused on regular cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, handrails and desktops.

We appreciate that this situation is evolving. Our commitment is to keep you informed throughout the school year.

Sincerely,

Dave Jones
Regional Executive Director of Education

 

 

February 9, 2020: Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang, has asked that the following information be shared with the public:

Nova Scotia, all other provinces and territories, and the federal government have announced that national screening guidelines are being enhanced to respond to the evolving novel coronavirus situation.

Travellers coming to Canada who have travelled to Hubei province in the last 14 days will be asked to self-isolate at home for 14 days from their last day in Hubei province.  They will receive supporting health information from Nova Scotia Health Authority public health.

People who have travelled from any other part of China in the last 14 days will be asked to closely monitor their health for 14 days from their last day in China and call the province’s 811 line if they develop fever or cough or difficulty breathing.

People in either category who have returned to Nova Scotia within the 14-day time period will be asked through public messaging (since we do not know who they are) to take the appropriate measures for the remainder of the 14 days.

At this time there have been no cases of this virus in Nova Scotia despite some individuals claiming to be infected on social media.

 

 

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