August 4 2020 Update for Return to School


Dear TCRCE Families:

As you are aware, the province recently released the Nova Scotia Back to School plan, based on consultation and advice from Dr. Robert Strang, Public Health and pediatricians at the IWK Health Centre, the NSTU and other educational partners.

As of today, all children will return to school on September 8 given the current very low presence of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia. However, it should be noted that Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan will be responsive to any change in COVID-19 cases in Nova Scotia. If there is a case of COVID in a community or in a school, we will follow the process outlined in the Public Health Guidelines and take our direction from Dr. Strang and his team at Public Health. They will investigate and advise on the next appropriate steps, including but not limited to, closing a school or family of schools and immediate notification of families. Our learning options allow us to move to a blended learning model or at-home learning if directed by public health. We will provide a technology device to any student who does not have access to one while learning at home.

As detailed in the plan, we are taking a layered approach with public health measures to keep students safe. For example, staggered recesses and lunches as required, cohorting classes in elementary schools, appropriate management of entrances and exits, maximizing classroom space and increased signage. We have already had meetings with TCRCE school-based and regional leadership staff about how we will accomplish this in the weeks to come, and this work is continuing from here on in.

Also, reminders will be present about good health practices like clean hands, the use of masks in common areas for high school students and on buses for all students, and increased hand sanitizing stations in our schools. Our plan is a responsive one and any of our practices can be modified in the event that the epidemiology of COVID-19 changes.

If you have not had a chance to review the plan, you can find it and other associated material including a list of frequently asked questions at

Additional Support

In the Back to School announcement, an additional $15 million has been allocated for additional support to help students with mental health and learning as they transition back to school and COVID-19 safety protocols.  To support Back to School implementation, the province recently announced an additional $40 million in funding to purchase additional school supplies for students, more resources to clean pre-primary rooms, and funds to hire hundreds of new custodians, lunch monitors and substitute teachers.

Changes at our Schools

As mentioned, we are now in the process of starting to implement regional and school-based plans that follow the Nova Scotia Back to School Plan and public health guidance for our schools. Throughout August, schools and our Operational Services team will be making the necessary changes within schools to welcome students back in a safe manner.

We know you may have many questions; my commitment is to keep you informed. I will continue to keep you updated as new information is available.

I want to thank each one of you for your patience and understanding that these are uncharted times as we deal with this once-in-a-century pandemic. We are in this together, and together I believe we can continue to deliver a positive experience for our students.


Dr. Chris Boulter, Regional Executive Director, TCRCE

Back to School 2020

On July 22, 2020, Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Zach Churchill and Dr. Robert Strang, Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced Nova Scotia’s plan for the safe return to school for all students, teachers and staff on September 8, 2020.

Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan was developed with input from public health, advice from experts at the IWK Health Centre, feedback from union partners and teachers, and feedback gathered from more than 28,000 parents, guardians and students from across the province who completed surveys during the month of June.

The provincial news release is available at

Further updates will be shared here as TCRCE implements the plan in preparation for opening.

Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan

All information on Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan can be found at


Minister's Announcement July 22

July 22, 2020

Dear TCRCE Families,

Hello, everyone. I invite you to tune in at noon today, July 22, when Zach Churchill, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, announces Nova Scotia’s plan for the safe return of all children, students, teachers and staff to school on September 8.

Nova Scotia’s Back to School Plan was developed with input from public health, advice from experts at the IWK Health Centre, feedback from union partners, teachers and, most importantly, you, our families and students. More than 28,000 parents and students across the province made their voices heard in the school experience surveys.

The announcement will be live streamed at You may also view it over Facebook Live on the Nova Scotia Government Facebook Page.

I know that families in our region have questions about what September will look like. I encourage you to tune into the announcement if you are able. More information, including the Nova Scotia Back to School Plan and survey results summary will be available online at noon, at (

All the best,



Dr. Chris Boulter, Regional Executive Director, TCRCE

Grade 7 School Immunization Clinics Update

Public Health holding school immunizations clinics to catch-up Grade 7 students from 2019-2020 school year
Friday, July 3, 2020
Grade 7 students from the 2019-2020 school year will be able to get up-to-date on immunizations at clinics hosted by Public Health in July and August. The second round of clinics for this past school year were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and response. 
“It was necessary to postpone the second round of clinics for the past school year but we are really happy to be able to offer these now so that students can be up to date on immunizations before the next school year starts,” said Cara-Leah Hmidan, Health Protection Manager with NSHA Public Health. 
Planning is still underway and full details will be posted on July 6 at under School Immunization Clinics. Families of Grade 7 students from 2019-2020 will also receive information from their schools early next week. 
One of the key considerations for the clinics is following guidelines around safety from COVID-19. 
“While we are encouraged at the decline of COVID-19 activity in Nova Scotia, we are taking all appropriate precautions and following guidelines to reduce risk of any COVID-19 transmission at the clinics,” said Hmidan.
This includes designing a new flow process, having additional staff present to support students, ensuring access to handwashing/hand sanitizer and regular cleaning according to the same guidelines used at other medical clinics.
The decline in COVID-19 activity also means more team members are now available to host and run the clinics. 

Tentative Start Date for 2020-2021 School Year

June 30, 2020

To TCRCE Families:

Hello, everyone. I wanted to reach out regarding the development of our TCRCE school calendar for the 2020-2021 year. In a ‘typical’ school year, we would have already released our calendar for the following year. A key date in this regional calendar is the first day back for TCRCE students in September.

A complication in developing next year’s calendar is that we don’t know what September will look like in terms of the spread of COVID-19. We are aware that the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development is aiming to release a reopening plan for the end of July with Public Health approval.

I am reaching out to let everyone know that, if students are to return to school in September, the first day back for TCRCE students is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, September 8, 2020. I would again reiterate that this date is dependent on the larger reopening plan. Once the plan is confirmed, we will share a robust regional calendar for the year. In the interim, September 8 is our scheduled date for students to start.

Once again, thanks to our students and families for their dedication to at-home learning and to our staff for adapting quickly to continue providing a quality learning experience for our students.

Please enjoy your summer. All the best.

Dr. Chris Boulter
Regional Executive Director, TCRCE

2020 RHFSP Difference Makers of the Year

Congratulations to Digby Elementary School teacher Aselin Ettinger! The Rick Hansen Foundation has recently announced their 2020 Difference Makers of the year and Digby’s Physical Education teacher, Aselin, was a recipient. In fact, she was the only winner from Atlantic Canada!

Aselin has been a longtime champion for inclusion at her school, securing approval for an adaptive phys-ed component and helping students with mobility and sensory challenges experience the joy of sport. In addition to facilitating skating time with sledges and a separate sensory skate for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who are averse to crowds, Aselin secured a grant for kick sleds, and brought all 375 students out to learn how to use them in a safe environment. Congrats again Aselin – we are so proud!

Student Survey

Dear students and families,

Last week, the At-Home Learning: Parent and Guardian Survey was released to encourage feedback on how learning at home went over the past few months for our families.

Now, we want to give our students in Grades 7-12 the same opportunity so we can find out more about what practices we should continue and our opportunities for improvement.

Please encourage students to fill out the At Home Learning: Student Survey. The survey is anonymous. Feedback will be used by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the RCEs/CSAP to help support planning for the 2020-21 school year. Student Survey will close Sunday, June 28. The Parent Survey will close Sunday, June 21.

To fill out the student survey, visit At Home Learning Survey

Thank you for taking the time to tell us about your at-home learning experience.

TCRCE General Grad Info

June 16, 2020


High school graduation is a significant milestone for students, as well as their family and friends who have supported them along the way. Students and families have been looking forward to celebrating graduation, and this year’s events will be different than anticipated. TCRCE high school staff are working with students and their families to organize meaningful ways to celebrate our grads and their accomplishments.

Schools are organizing recognition events that are accessible for students. For this reason, celebrations for high school graduates will not be exclusively online. However, there may be some virtual components, such as a video message or photo slideshow.

TCRCE schools will be celebrating grads in creative ways. High schools will hold grad events such as individual diploma presentations and photo opportunities. All in-person events must respect physical distancing and other public health measures.

Many of our grad recognition events will be held outside. When a grad exits a vehicle to receive their diploma at their scheduled time, we are asking that a maximum of 4 additional people exit vehicles to accompany them to the diploma presentation.

Schools have collaborated with school community members to honor graduates and provide souvenirs; one example you might see is a sign on the lawn of a graduating student, or signs posted on the school property. Individual TCRCE schools will communicate their specific plans to their graduating class and families.

All the best.

Dr. Chris Boulter
Regional Executive Director, TCRCE


May 20 Letter to Families

As summer approaches, schools will be organizing ways for students and families to retrieve belongings and return items (textbooks, band instruments, computers, etc) beginning the week of June 8. Further information will be sent out to families as we get closer to this date. Please click HERE to see Dr. Boulter’s letter around this.

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