The COVID-19 virus is still present in Nova Scotia communities and core public health measures remain important, including in school settings. This means continuing to use the healthy habits we know are effective as we transition away from requirements and mandates in the next phase of reopening. These small actions can have a big impact on the people around us. The efforts of staff, students, families, and partners in following public health guidance are greatly appreciated.
Core Public Health Measures
Collectively, the core public health measures comprise the layered approach that reduces the risk of transmission of many illnesses, including COVID-19. Schools should consider how these principles can be incorporated into daily operations across all school settings including classrooms, common areas, staff rooms and offices, and during transportation. Special attention should be paid to larger gatherings and higher risk activities.
- Support students, staff, and visitors to monitor for symptoms (follow Daily Checklist), stay home when sick, and seek COVID-19 testing when indicated, including testing available through assessment sites and use of home rapid tests.
- Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should follow guidance, including isolation, and only return to school once they are no longer required to self-isolate
- Masking continues to be strongly recommended by public health in indoor public places. For schools, indoor masking continues to be required.
- Schools should foster an environment where mask-wearing is accepted and normalized for those who choose to wear masks in situations where it is not required.
- Ensure availability of supplies and resources to support hand hygiene and cough and sneeze etiquette.
- Encourage hand hygiene before and after use of shared objects.
- Discourage sharing of food, drinks and personal items such as water bottles and lip gloss.
- Continued attention to cleaning and disinfecting, with emphasis on high traffic areas and high touch surfaces.
- Consider where high touch surfaces can be eliminated, such as using no-touch items (e.g., waste receptacles).
- Prioritize use of outdoor spaces and attention to ventilation when indoors.
- Spread out within the available space and minimize congestion in common areas.
- Open exterior windows and doors when appropriate.
- Ensure ventilation (HVAC) systems operate properly, are adjusted appropriately, and are routinely maintained.
- Develop plans for symptomatic individuals in school settings, such as prompt separation from others, monitoring, masking, and hand hygiene while awaiting pickup.
- Schools should maintain attendance records and report absenteeism to Public Health as directed.