Nova Scotia

Parents voice concerns about handling of COVID-19 outbreak at Halifax school

Parents frustrated with handling of COVID-19 outbreak at Duc d'Anville Elementary.

Testing and vaccine clinics will be operating in Duc d'Anville Elementary this weekend

Duc d'Anville Elementary has been closed for a week due to an outbreak of COVID-19. (Jack Julian/CBC)

Some parents of children who attend a Halifax-area elementary school say they're frustrated with how authorities have handled an outbreak of COVID-19 at the school.

Duc d'Anville Elementary in the neighborhood of Clayton Park has been closed for a week after 14 cases of the virus were detected.

When the closure was announced last Friday, the government said a negative COVID-19 test would be required for anyone returning to the school on Monday.

Nova Scotia Health Tweeted a message on Friday, announcing that testing and vaccine clinics are operating in the school this weekend.

Translators will be available at the clinics to explain procedures in Arabic, Nepali and Somali — a recognition of the diverse student body at Duc d'Anville.

Parents concerned about lack of information

A statement provided by the Halifax Regional Centre for Education said students and staff are strongly encouraged to get tested, "regardless of whether or not they have symptoms."

"I'm actually appalled by their decision to backpedal on what they previously said," parent Jessica Howie wrote Friday.

She had earlier emailed CBC News and provincial and school authorities, voicing concerns about an apparent lack of clear information surrounding plans to reopen the school next week.

Howie said that since the closure, parents have been notified of another COVID-19 case at the school.

"If that's the case, and testing isn't mandatory, what's stopping COVID-19 from coming back into our school?" she asked.

More information coming soon

Jeremy Webb said he's considering keeping his two sons, ages six and nine, home on Monday.

"Do I want to send them back when I haven't yet seen that the school is at least, at a starting point, COVID-19 free?" Webb asked Friday. "Not really."

Webb said he'd prefer to see two weeks with no COVID-19 cases before the school reopens. He said he also realizes not every parent has the luxury of keeping their children home.

The centre for education said parents will be getting more information on the reopening plans.

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Blair Rhodes

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Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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