Several Dartmouth, N.S. schools move to virtual learning for two weeks due to COVID-19 outbreak
HALIFAX -- Amid a return of lockdown restrictions for the Halifax Regional Municipality, several schools in Dartmouth, N.S. are moving to virtual learning for two weeks due to COVID-19 outbreak.
"Our schools are being impacted by increased COVID-19 activity. That's why some schools will be closed for two weeks starting tomorrow," said Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Medical Officer of Health during Thursday’s update.
Beginning Friday, April 23, the following schools, which are in an area of increased COVID-19 activity, will close to students and move to at-home learning for a two-week period:
- Auburn Drive High family of schools
- Cole Harbour District High family of schools
- Dartmouth High family of schools
- École secondaire Mosaïque
- École du Carrefour
- École Bois-Joli
Staff will remain working from schools and use this time to prepare online instruction.
Families will receive more information from their schools or regional centre for education today.
Later Thursday evening, the province announced five additional cases connected to schools.
All other public schools and daycares in the province will continue with in-school learning at this time.
However, masks will be mandatory for all students effective April 23. As well, all school gyms across Nova Scotia will be closed for community use until at least May 20.
“When possible, children need to be in school for their education, social and emotional development and mental health,” said Strang during Thursday’s update. “We have done an amazing job of keeping children and youth in school all year and there are not many jurisdictions in Canada that can say that.”
Paul Wozney, the president of the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, says the changes should be a wake-up call and a reminder of how quickly things can change with the presence of variant cases.
He believes school safety protocols need to be evaluated and enhanced to ensure students, teachers, staff and their families are safe from COVID-19 variants, including prioritizing teachers for vaccinations.
"It's time to vaccinate our teachers. It's not going to make sure everything's fine but whether we learn remotely or whether we learn in person, that only works if you have teachers to staff those approaches," said Wozney.
Masks will be mandatory for all students effective Friday, April 23. A previous version of the story had an incorrect date provided by the province of Nova Scotia.