Two Halifax-area schools with COVID-19 cases to shut down for two weeks
Auburn Drive High School is seen in Cole Harbour, N.S., on Nov. 17, 2020.
HALIFAX -- Two Halifax-area schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19 will be shut down for two weeks as a precaution.
Students who attend Graham Creighton Junior High School in Cherry Brook, N.S., and Auburn Drive High School in Cole Harbour, N.S., will move to online learning while the schools are closed. The schools are slated to reopen on Dec. 7.
“We are doing this as a precautionary measure, but the reality is, we have COVID in these two schools and in the surrounding communities,” said Premier Stephen McNeil during a news conference Friday afternoon.
"This step reflects what is evolving in broader HRM, the significant level of concern among parents and teachers, and has been done out of an abundance of caution," said Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Robert Strang.
The province says students will be provided with computers, if needed. Teachers will deliver classes online and students will participate in a combination of real-time instruction and self-directed learning.
"In collaboration with public health, we've developed a range of supports and practices to deal with positive COVID-19 cases in our schools," said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill in a news release.
The schools’ gymnasiums and sports programs will also be closed for the next 14 days.
The closures come after one case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Graham Creighton and two cases were confirmed at Auburn Drive this week.
Public health has identified all close contacts of the people who tested positive. All close contacts all required to undergo testing and self-isolate for 14 days.
All the tests have come back negative so far, except for one test. That case was first reported Thursday evening and is connected to Auburn Drive. That person is a close contact of the first case reported at the school.
“Closing the schools is not about affecting community spread. Closing the schools is about making sure that we can do what is necessary to ensure the schools remain safe, that parents and teachers have the confidence that schools remain safe,” added Strang during Friday's news update. “The way we keep our schools safe, is by keeping our community’s safe. All of us taking action is what is necessary to keep them safe.”
Auburn Drive and Graham Creighton remained open at first, with only the affected classrooms closed. However, both schools were closed Friday, along with all schools in the Auburn Drive family of schools, for a deep clean after the second case was identified at Auburn.
Friday was an assessment and evaluation day for students from pre-primary to Grade 9, so most students in the Auburn Drive family of schools would have been staying home anyway.
Only Auburn Drive High School and Graham Creighton Junior High School will be closed until Dec. 7.