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International travellers banned from New Brunswick schools for two weeks

March 10, 2020 - 1:00 PM

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick's education minister has taken the unprecedented step of ordering all preschoolers and students travelling abroad to refrain from returning to school for two weeks in a bid to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Dominic Cardy sent a letter to parents Monday saying the precautionary measure — among the most aggressive taken by any province — also applies to school and early learning centre staff, volunteers and family members of students.

Cardy says the new rule applies to those who have returned from international travel as of March 8.

"The goal here is to call on New Brunswickers and say look, this is a difficult situation. This is a dangerous disease. You do not want to be the person who brings this virus back to New Brunswick. So join with us in taking reasonable precautions to try and protect our students and folks who work in our education system," Cardy said Tuesday.

"That's going to be the core message — a message of social responsibility," he said.

Cardy said the restriction only applies to travellers. If a family travelled internationally, then all members would be banned from schools for two weeks. However if only the parents travelled, the children would still be able to attend class.

"We are asking people here to act as citizens. The school system isn't here with police or judicial powers. We are here to ask people to act in the best interests of the people who are teaching our kids and our students," he said.

The minister has also cancelled all international school-related travel for the remainder of the school year.

The latest measures come after Cardy distributed a letter on Friday, saying the two-week school ban applied only to those students, volunteers, staff and family members who had travelled to China, Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong or Singapore.

There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in New Brunswick.

While the latest memo restricts international travel, Cardy said he's not going to stop travel across the New Brunswick-Maine border that's common for shopping, work and visiting family who straddle the border.

Cardy also said at this point there's no restriction on people who travel within Canada, including provinces where the virus has been reported.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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