High schools across the province will be returning to full-time in-person classes on April 12, meaning that the previous system of alternating days of in-person attendance will no longer be in place. 

“We have always acknowledged that the situation, particularly for high school students, is not ideal,” said Dominic Cardy, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development in New Brunswick.  “These changes mean that all students in Grades 9 through 12 will be learning in the classroom every day in the Yellow and Orange Public Health levels.”

Precautions put in place at high schools include a requirement for students and staff to wear a mask throughout the day, unless eating or engaged in physical activity; provisions of additional spaces throughout the schools for lunch and breaks; mandatory seating plans will be implemented in classrooms and on buses; and if a positive case of COVID-19 is confirmed in a high school, the high school will close for three days to allow for contact tracing, school cleaning, testing of close contacts, and vaccination programs for students and staff.

High school students 16 years of age and older with complex medical conditions, as well as high school staff, are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Teachers and students alike are excited about this new development in the Return to School plan.

“As a pre-service teacher, I am excited to see and experience a full class of students for my practicum for the first time,” said Josh Vandenborre, a teacher at Leo Hayes.

Vandenborre revealed that there are mixed views on the new changes. He said some students are excited to see friends they haven’t seen in a while, and others prefer how the school has been running since the pandemic started. 

“As teachers we plan to make the students feel as safe as possible during the pandemic with all of our capabilities,” concluded Vandenborre.

New Brunswick‘s Chief Medical Officer of Health Jennifer Russell is in support of the changes. 

“We will continue to provide guidance throughout the school year on various issues ranging from prevention measures to managing an outbreak, and we will support our students, families, educators, and school staff every step of the way,” said Russell.