HALIFAX -- All post-secondary students entering Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada will be tested for COVID-19.

Premier Stephen McNeil made the announcement during a news conference in Halifax on Thursday following consultation with the office of the chief medical officer of health.

“In the coming days and weeks we will see the influx of university and college students from other provinces, including those from outside the Atlantic bubble,” said McNeil. “I know this is making many Nova Scotians nervous but our post-secondary institutions are important. They play a major role in educating our young people and they support our economy.”

The COVID-19 testing requirement applies to all university and NSCC students who arrive in Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic region, whether they are living on campus or in the community, effective immediately. Those students must still self-isolate for 14 days.

Students who are currently self-isolating will also be tested for COVID-19.

“If students are asymptomatic, these tests should help us detect COVID,” said McNeil. “This will also enable institutions and Public Health to respond quickly if the virus is found.”

Nova Scotia Health is setting up additional testing centres where needed to test students.

“Every campus will have a testing place on it,” said McNeil. “We have worked with our university communities from one end of the province to the other, so every campus will have a place for their students to be tested.”

McNeil said the on-campus testing won’t affect the current capacity for COVID-19 testing in Nova Scotia.

Students will be tested three times during their 14-day isolation period. Even if a student tests negative for the virus, they will still be required to self-isolate for two weeks.

Students cannot attend in-person classes until their testing and self-isolation are complete and they have tested negative for COVID-19.

“We expect you to follow the isolation plans and get tested and we expect you to follow Public Health protocols,” said McNeil in a message to post-secondary students.

Students from Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador do not need to self-isolate upon arrival in Nova Scotia. However, they do need to self-isolate if they travelled outside the Atlantic provinces in the past 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia.

Universities and the NSCC will contact students directly with information about testing.