Provincial Government COVID-19 Requirements for Students Entering Nova Scotia from Outside Atlantic Canada

As the start of the fall semester nears, we understand that some students, who have been living outside of Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island) during the summer months for employment or other reasons, may be planning to return to Cape Breton to begin or resume their studies at CBU for online delivery this fall.

Jump to FAQs Provided by the Government of Nova Scotia

To help keep communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Province of Nova Scotia has introduced new rules for Nova Scotia post-secondary students that you should be aware of and will need to follow.

Please note that the Canadian border remains closed and international students wishing to begin their studies at CBU should register for online courses this fall and begin the academic year from their home country.  We look forward to the day that we can welcome all our students back to campus. Until then, please use the resources and virtual supports available to you, designed to help you thrive online at CBU this coming semester.


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working closely with public health officials to help ensure our Cape Breton University community is safe for our students, staff, and residents of the surrounding community. We all have a role to play to ensure Nova Scotia continues to be safe.

To prevent the spread of this virus in our communities, the Nova Scotia provincial government has established rules for post-secondary students arriving in the province from outside Atlantic Canada. These rules are the law in Nova Scotia as part of the public health order under the Health Protection Act. 


All students entering Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada must complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in. This includes students coming from all other Canadian provinces/territories and from other countries. Once you submit the form, you will be given directions about steps you need to take as required under the public health order.


All students entering Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. You must complete a daily digital check-in.

All students should note that if you leave Atlantic Canada (for Thanksgiving, for example) and return to Nova Scotia, you must self-isolate for 14 days upon your return and complete the daily digital check-in.


Students arriving up to and including September 21, 2020:

  • Must complete three COVID-19 tests during your self-isolation period and receive negative results before you can attend in-person classes.
  • After you complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in, Nova Scotia Health will email you three COVID-19 test appointments and tell you the location for them.
  • Your appointments will either be on campus or nearby. On-campus testing sites will remain open until October 5 to accommodate testing for these students.

Students arriving on or after September 22, 2020:

  • Are not required to get COVID-19 testing during your 14-day self-isolation period if you do not have symptoms.
  • If you already completed the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in with an arrival date of September 22 or later, you may receive communication that says you must get tested. If so, you can disregard this direction because testing will not be required in your case.

If you have flu-like symptoms, please complete the COVID-19 self-assessment online. If you, or family members, need a COVID-19 test, a Nova Scotia Health or IWK representative will call you within 24-48 hours. They will tell you where you need to go for the test and your appointment time.

Canadian students are reminded to bring their provincial health card when they come to Nova Scotia.


There are many other mandatory public health measures in place in Nova Scotia, such as staying 2 metres/6 feet apart from others and wearing a non-medical mask in indoor public places. Please familiarize yourself with the rules in Nova Scotia. For more information specifically for students and their parents, please read the post-secondary fact sheet. We encourage you to also follow @nsgov and

Everyone has to play their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Students have a responsibility to protect each other, the staff at their institutions, and the communities where they live. Thank you in advance for your cooperation with the self-isolation and testing requirements, and all the public health measures in place to help keep us safe.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact or phone 902-574-5425.

Check out the Frequently Asked Questions provided by Nova Scotia Labour and Advanced Education below for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Most universities in the province and NSCC are offering only or mainly online courses. Some are offering in-person courses or components of courses, such as labs. Institutions with mainly online learning will still have some facilities open, such as residences (at lower capacity) and libraries.

Students coming to Nova Scotia from outside the country should visit the Government of Canada website before they travel.

Yes. All students entering Nova Scotia to attend university or NSCC must submit a self-declaration travel form. This includes students from all other Canadian provinces/territories and from other countries.

Some institutions require students to submit a self-isolation plan. Please check with your institution on how to prepare your plan, where to send it, and whether there is anything else you need to submit.

Any student coming to Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days. Students who live in Atlantic Canada do not have to self-isolate unless they have travelled outside the region within 14 days before coming to Nova Scotia.

University and NSCC students entering Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada up to and including September 21 must self-isolate for 14 days and get tested for COVID-19 three times. After that date, self-isolation is required but testing is not.

We are keeping the on-campus testing sites open for any students who arrive up to and including September 21 to complete their mandatory testing during their self-isolation period. On October 5, we will close those centres and focus our resources on our 26 testing sites around the province.

Individual students don’t necessarily pose a greater risk than other people entering the province from outside Atlantic Canada. However, there were risks associated with a large number of young adults arriving within a short period of time. We instituted the testing protocol to manage that risk.

Setting one date is the least confusing option. September 21 is the latest start date for in-person classes in the province. Most students, if not all, who plan to attend in-person classes ought to be in the province and finished their self-isolation and testing by then. We will test any students who arrive up to and including that date.

We don’t expect many cases like this, but if this happens, the student can disregard direction to get tested. We will also advise the university or NSCC if they have any students in this situation.

After September 21, students entering Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada will be required to complete self-isolation but they will not be required to get tested.

Anyone who thinks they have symptoms of COVID-19 should do the 811 online self-assessment and call 811 if necessary.

We are currently evaluating the protocol that we required for university and NSCC students this fall. We will consider what we learned from this experience, as well as our testing capacity and the epidemiology in Nova Scotia and in other jurisdictions, to determine any future action.

Any staff who have been outside Atlantic Canada need to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Nova Scotia. They do not need to be tested.

Any private career college staff or students who have been outside Atlantic Canada need to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Nova Scotia. They do not need to be tested.

No. Even with negative tests results, students must complete the 14 days of self-isolation.

No, students who have arrived in Nova Scotia prior to August 21, 2020 do not need to get tested. They must complete their self-isolation.

You are allowed to go directly to the testing site for your appointment time and directly back to the place where you are self-isolating. Do not make any stops along the way. Stay at least 2 metres/6 feet away from other people.

Do not take a bus or ferry to the testing site. Depending on the circumstances, transportation may be arranged for you. You can walk, bike, drive, or take a taxi. It is mandatory to wear a non-medical mask if you take a taxi. The mask is also mandatory in indoor public places and you may need to walk through one of these places to reach the testing site. Masks are required in the testing site.

No, a student cannot refuse to be tested. This testing is mandatory as part of the public health order under the Health Protection Act.


All students should bring their student number with them. Canadian students also should bring their provincial health card with them.

Public Health will take the same approach with universities and NSCC as they do with other cases. They will direct the person to self-isolate. They will follow up and test close contacts of the person who is sick. Depending on the circumstances of the case, they will direct and work with the institution on any additional steps that must be taken, including communicating about the case to the community.

If students have additional questions about these public health requirements, please email

Self-isolation means you go straight to the place in Nova Scotia where you plan to complete your self- isolation period and you stay there for 14 days. You cannot have visitors. You must have food and essentials delivered. If you’re in a house, you can go outside but you cannot leave the property. If you’re in an apartment, you cannot leave the apartment – you can go on a private balcony if there is one. If you’re in a residence room, you must follow your institution’s rules. If you share accommodations with other people, you must self-isolate from them. Learn more about self-isolation here.

The day you enter Nova Scotia is considered day 1 and you must self-isolate up to and including the 14th day. For example, if arrive in Nova Scotia on August 23, your self-isolation period is up to and including September 5, and you are free to leave the place where you were isolating on September 6.

The start date may be different at each institution so check with yours about when classes start. Ideally, you should arrive with time to complete your self-isolation and then attend to any necessities such as buying textbooks before classes begin.

Most universities are providing options for self-isolation in residence. They have specific move in dates for students who need to self-isolate in residence. Please contact your university or check their website for more information.

At this point, we are focused on getting students into the province and through their initial self-isolation and testing so they can begin their studies. Also, public health directives may change as the pandemic evolves.

The onus is on students to do a daily digital check. They will receive a daily email with questions that they must answer. A student’s institution will be notified of non-compliance and will take reasonable steps to help students comply.

There are penalties in the Health Protection Act. For a first offence, there is a $1,000 fine. If you are found guilty of a second or subsequent offence, you could be fined up to $10,000 or sentenced to imprisonment for up to one year, or both.

You should ask your institution about their expectations for their students and what happens if those expectations are not met.

Yes, parents can drop off their students to the place where they will self-isolate for 14 days. This may be the same place where they will live for the school year, or a different place.

If you are dropping off a student on campus, please follow the university’s rules for this process.

Other than while doing the brief drop off, parents (or anyone else) coming from outside Atlantic Canada to accompany a student must self-isolate while in Nova Scotia. This means you do not go shopping, do not get groceries etc, do not go to restaurants, do not visit/explore the community, etc.

You can leave the province anytime (ie, you do not need to stay here for 14 days). When returning home, you should make as few stops in Nova Scotia as possible. You must self-isolate as much as you can, stay 2 metres/6 feet away from others, and wear a mask in indoor public places.