Coronavirus: HRCE cancels exam exemptions to make sure sick students stay home

A file photo of an empty classroom. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

In an effort to keep students at home if they’re sick amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Halifax Regional Centre for Education (HRCE) has cancelled exam exemptions for students.

In an email to parents and guardians, Prince Andrew High School principal Brad McGowan said the decision was made unanimously among principals across the HRCE.

“We realize this decision will disappoint some of our students but it was only made after much thought and reflection on what was in the best interests of our students’ and staff’s health and safety,” McGowan stated.

“We hope you will help reinforce the message that attendance in school is important for student learning but we don’t want students coming to school if they are sick.”

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High schools in the HRCE are permitted to allow students to be exempt from one examination per semester in an effort to encourage exemplary attendance.

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McGowan stated that as of late, there have been a number of concerns raised by families and health officials that continuing to offer exam exemptions during the COVID-19 pandemic could “encourage students to attend school when they are sick.”

“This is a legitimate concern,” he said.

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The elimination of exemptions will pertain to the second semester of the 2019-20 school year.

There have not been any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia, but the province’s health authority expects cases will come as more are confirmed across Canada.

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