Welcome to the 2021-22 School Year

Dear school community,

As we wrap up the first day of the 2021-22 school year, I’d like to take a moment to welcome back our returning students and staff, and send greetings to all those who are new to SSRCE.

While we all hope and expect this school year to look a bit more normal, Nova Scotia has a Back to School Plan that provides Public Health guidance to keep everyone safe. Key public health measures in this plan include vaccination being available to anyone aged 12 and up, staying home if unwell, as well as ongoing hand sanitization, use of masks, and continued cleaning of high-touch surfaces. Our educational routine this year will look more familiar, with a full return to music, band, field trips, and clubs. All school sports will resume as well, and students and staff will once again be able to use cafeterias and participate in food programs. Parents and guardians who follow public health measures will be allowed to visit schools, according to each school’s visitor policy. If you haven’t already, please take the time to review the plan and its core public health guidance.

Like last year, there are steps we can all take to keep each other healthy and safe. This includes:
•    Reviewing the COVID-19 Daily Checklist each day to closely monitor your health and the health of those you care for.
•    Understanding what to expect if your child develops symptoms while at school by reviewing the Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Child and Youth Settings fact sheet.

Nova Scotia Health has also updated its Contact Tracing in Child and Youth Settings fact sheet which outlines the steps Public Health will take if a case of COVID-19 is reported in a school.

As everyone settles back into the school year routine, it’s important to remember that getting vaccinated is our best defense against COVID-19. The more people in a community who are vaccinated and protected from COVID-19, the harder it is for the virus to spread. All Nova Scotians aged 12+ have access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines free-of-charge. You can learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, including how to book an appointment, at https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/vaccine.

I would again like to thank SSRCE staff for their flexibility and for continually demonstrating their professionalism and leadership. Additionally, our students and families have continued to adapt to changing health guidelines and we have much appreciation for their commitment throughout these unique times. The pandemic has taught us a number of lessons and throughout this school year, you will see a variety of these practices remain. For example, many of our students have experienced the benefits of outdoor learning. Our teachers and school-based staff will continue to get students outdoors as much as possible as we know this improves both mental and physical health. As well, we were able to purchase a number of new technology devices last year, and our students will continue to reap the benefits for years to come.

Pink Shirt Day, September 9, 2021

SSRCE will celebrate Pink Shirt Day on Thursday, September 9. I invite all students and staff to dress in pink and take a stand against bullying while celebrating safe and inclusive schools and workplaces. This is also a time to reflect on how we make other people feel from our actions and choices. Please share your Pink Shirt Day photos on Twitter and Facebook. Be sure to tag us and use the hashtag #PinkShirtDayNS.

I look forward to once again visiting schools throughout the region and seeing first-hand the learning and excitement in our classrooms. We will keep you updated on our student success this year as well. Be sure to keep your eye on our social media pages as well as our monthly reports that are emailed to you directly.

Paul Ash
SSRCE Regional Executive Director