Students coming to Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic bubble to receive mandatory coronavirus tests

Premier Stephen McNeil announced Thursday that post-secondary students coming to Nova Scotia from outside the Atlantic bubble will be required to take three COVID-19 tests during their isolation period.

Anyone coming from outside the bubble is already required to self-isolate for 14 days.

But now all university and Nova Scotia Community College students will be tested for the novel coronavirus.

“Testing university and NSCC students during their self-isolation periods can help with early detection and management of cases in the post-secondary population,” said Dr. Gaynor Watson-Creed, N.S. deputy health official, in a news release.

Read more: Nova Scotia reports 1 new case of coronavirus Thursday

Even if the results are negative the isolation period must be completed, says a news release.

According to the provincial website, self-isolation means going directly to a destination and staying there for 14 days, or for the duration of the stay if it’s less than two weeks.

The province says to not take a bus while in self-isolation and to avoid taking a taxi if possible.

“Don’t have visitors. Make plans to have groceries and other supplies delivered,” the website says.

Nova Scotia also says students cannot attend in-person classes until their testing and self-isolation are complete and they receive negative test results.

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This updated policy is effective immediately and includes those who are already self-isolating, it says.

Those inside the bubble must isolate only if they have left the bubble in the past 14 days.

McNeil said in the announcement that the province is setting up additional testing centres for students, and tests will begin on the first day they arrive.

Read more: Union leaders raise safety concerns over Nova Scotia’s back-to-school plan

Province says each university’s and NSCC’s re-opening plans have been approved by health officials and the advanced education department.

“Along with testing, everyone following the public health measures — students completing their self-isolation and social distancing — and the plans the institutions have put in place will help keep students, staff and surrounding communities safe during the school year,” said Gaynor in the release.

The government is also enhancing the border form for everyone — not just students — who arrive in the province from outside the Atlantic bubble.

The new Nova Scotia Safe Check-in will be a digital check-in that will replace follow up phone calls to ensure people are self-isolating.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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