Details on Nova Scotia schools reopening coming Wednesday

Exterior view of South Queens Middle School in Liverpool
South Queens Middle School
Ed Halverson - QCCR - LiverpoolNS | 16-07-2020

The province will unveil their plan to reopen schools on Wednesday.

Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development Zach Churchill was scant on details but says his department’s priority is to get students back into the classrooms come September.

He says whether or not that means a full-time return to classes for all students will depend on how Nova Scotia is coping with the pandemic in the fall.

“We don’t know what September will bring with this virus. None of us have the ability to see that far ahead into the future.”

Until now, the education minister would only say his department was working on three options to get students back to class: a full return to classes, online education or a hybrid model combining aspects of online and in-class lessons.

Churchill expects to have a clearer sense of the situation as August progresses.

“Our plan is basically, to get students back in school. We’re planning on 100 per cent capacity with full curriculum and assessments. Then, if we have to make alternative calls because of the public health situation, we’re prepared to do that.”

The education minister says the plan has been devised by consulting with child development experts from the IWK hospital, staff at public health and the feedback from the teachers union.

Churchill says he and his staff also took into account a survey that was sent across Nova Scotia to gain feedback from parents and students about their experience this spring.

“We did have a high volume, you know, 28,000 participants. Since I’ve been in government, that’s probably the largest number I’ve seen, that I can remember anyway, that’s that replied to this form of survey.”

Churchill says the education department has ordered a stockpile of personal protective equipment and sanitizing supplies.

He says the details around what measures will be taken to maintain social distancing and other efforts to protect students and staff against the spread of COVID-19 will be included in Wednesday’s announcement.

Reported by Ed Halverson 
Twitter: @edwardhalverson