Education Healthcare Media release

Press release: NS parent group calling for minister and public health to leave mask mandate intact in NS public schools

HALIFAX, NS, September 13, 2021 — Nova Scotia Parents for Public Education is urging the Minister of Education, Becky Druhan and NS Public Health to leave the current masking protocols, as well as other Covid measures in place in NS Public Schools for the foreseeable future. In response to the numbers of new cases disclosed today, and Public Health’s statement regarding community spread, parents are more concerned than ever about the removal of recommended measures that have made schools safer over the past 18 months. With at least three known school cases in Nova Scotia last week among consistent new case numbers, PEI having to close a number of schools this week due to outbreaks in children under 19, and NB returning to masking in their schools, it seems obvious Nova Scotia would be prudent to act preemptively when it comes to our students. While a large portion of our school population remains unvaccinated and are the most vulnerable in the current Covid outlook, parents are concerned that the government is intending to drop the very important protections most recommended by experts all over the world, far too early. 

Only weeks ago, we were told that a 75% vaccination rate is the minimum required to move to Phase 5 in Nova Scotia, and we would like to see that target remain a priority, and reassessed consistently, as we move through the beginnings of the latest wave of this pandemic. Schools and the Covid protocols applied there should be strengthened based on being proactive and the highest standard of protection for our students and their families, our teachers, and every staff member who is present in our public schools. Regardless of the vaccine numbers, other jurisdictions are showing that removing masks increases cases in the unvaccinated. We call on the government to maintain this important safety measure for our young children in schools. 

NS Parents for Public Education also calls on the government to restore the public notice policies that were in place in the prior school years, returning to making school cases publicly known, and maintaining a publicly accessible list of current school cases and any

closures. While there is a continued publication of possible exposure sites, where 15 minutes is deemed a risk, a list that is growing longer and wider everyday, it makes no sense that schools and buses, where children and teachers and other school staff exist in crowded environments for up to several hours a day, are not treated in a like manner, and perhaps with some more importance. 

Nova Scotia Parents for Public Education was started in 2016 by parents concerned with the government’s deteriorating relationship with teachers. They have 18,000 members on Facebook, and use their platform to promote and protect public education.