When students head back to public schools in Nova Scotia on Jan. 10, the way COVID-19 cases are being managed will look different.
The provincial government is asking Nova Scotians to be more accountable and take responsibility for letting close contacts know if they've tested positive for COVID-19, said Premier Tim Houston on Thursday.
That directive extends to how cases will be managed in schools. The province announced earlier this week that contact tracing will no longer happen for school cases.
Students who are sick or close contacts of a known case must stay home and follow public health guidance.
Houston said if a student tests positive on a rapid test, their school principal should be notified.
With resources stretched thin, the premier said asking Nova Scotians to take more responsibility is a must.
"I have faith in each and every one of us, that every Nova Scotian will step up for their families and step up for their community," Houston said during a COVID-19 briefing.
Earlier this week, the government extended the holiday break to Jan. 10 to allow families extra time to monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and book vaccine appointments.
The extra time will also give schools the opportunity to ensure classrooms are safe by removing extra furniture to allow for more space, and making sure staff are up-to-date on the latest public health protocols.
When classes resume, no non-essential visitors will be permitted in schools, there will be no large assemblies or events, and strict cohorting will be implemented.
All staff and students will be given three-ply cloth masks, and all students will be advised to wear them or an equivalent. Masks must be worn at all times indoors except while eating or drinking.
The province plans to distribute more rapid tests to students based on supply availability from the federal government. More information will be provided to families the week of Jan. 4.
The province announced 511 new cases Thursday.
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