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N.B. students attending N.S. universities feeling impacts of new isolation requirement

Click to play video 'N.B. students returning to Nova Scotia facing COVID-19 isolation period' N.B. students returning to Nova Scotia facing COVID-19 isolation period
WATCH: New Brunswick students who are going to university in Nova Scotia are dealing with new border restrictions. Some who made the trek home for the holidays returned well ahead of the 14-day isolation requirements, while others were cutting it close. Callum Smith has the story.

University student Taylor Roberts might not have got much sleep Friday night.

The third-year Acadia student returned home to New Brunswick from Wolfville, N.S. to isolate with family over the holiday break.

Along with two roommates also from the province, they watched COVID-19 case numbers climb recently.

“I got the message from one of our buddies there that Nova Scotia was going to be closing the borders to New Brunswick,” he says of the new isolation requirement.

“We were kind of prepared for it, but we weren’t really packed for it.”

Read more: Nova Scotia reporting 5 new cases of COVID-19, including 2 university students

Nova Scotia announced Friday that anyone entering the province from New Brunswick would need to isolate for two weeks as a result of the surge in COVID-19 cases in the neighbouring province.

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The rule came into effect at 8 a.m. Saturday.

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So Roberts says he and his roommates hit the road for Acadia at about 4 a.m. to get ahead of the isolation.

“We were pushing it pretty close,” he admits. “We got to the border around 7:30 a.m. and the guy just kind of rolled his eyes and waved us through.”

He says they’re awaiting results of a precautionary COVID-19 test.

Click to play video 'Nova Scotia imposes new rules around self-isolation' Nova Scotia imposes new rules around self-isolation
Nova Scotia imposes new rules around self-isolation – Nov 9, 2020

StFX University in Antigonish, N.S., says despite the change in rules, it was ready because it was already expecting students returning from outside Atlantic Canada to have to isolate.

In-person classes have been bumped back to Jan. 25 to allow for the isolation period. Until then, winter semester classes are going online.

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“We have established a solid check-in program,” says Elizabeth Yeo, the vice president of students for StFX.

“Each student in residence has an assigned person who checks in with them daily, we have sessions with a mental health practitioner; it’s called ‘Check up from the neck up.'”

Read more: St. Francis Xavier University reports 2nd case of COVID-19 Saturday

UNB student David McPartland is currently on a co-op in the Halifax area. He too returned home for a few days during the holiday break.

“It was me, my brother, my mom and my dad,” he said. “We just isolated for three days, played board games, watched movies, TV shows, and then went back up to Halifax on the 27th.”

That means McPartland avoided any isolation requirments on the return to Nova Scotia because he came back well ahead of the tightened border announcement.

Regardless, the students are eager to get back to work — marking the start of a winter semester like no other.