The New Brunswick government says all students returning to public school this September will be required to bring a face mask to school to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but masks will not be required inside the classroom.
The new rules are spelled out in a 16-page guide that says singing, the playing of wind instruments and large assemblies will not be allowed.
Education Minister Dominic Cardy says students in Grades 6 to 12 will be required to wear face masks on the school bus and in common areas, such as washrooms and in the hallways.
However, the use of face masks in common areas will be optional for students in kindergarten to Grade 5.
The guide also calls for reduced group sizes, enhanced cleaning, staggered meal times, hand-sanitation stations, classroom bubbles for students in kindergarten to Grade 8 and physical distancing requirements for those who take the bus to school.
As well, the province will restrict access to schools by limiting the travel of personnel between schools and requiring parents to stay outside the school unless they have an appointment or are picking up a sick child.
As for high school students, the guide says they may be “learning in a blended environment,” which means attending school every other day at a minimum.
“We know students, families and educators still had many questions on what to expect when they go back into the classroom,” Cardy said in a statement.
“A critical part of reopening schools while we live through this pandemic is protecting the health and safety of staff and students. However, our mandate continues to be ensuring that students have access to quality, inclusive education that positions them for long-term success.”
© The Canadian Press