Arriving or returning to Nova Scotia

Planning your arrival or return: What you need to know

If you are a student coming to Nova Scotia this spring/summer term or this fall (either for the first time since the start of the pandemic or returning after travel), please see below for important information on planning your arrival.

The information below is kept up to date with current rules and restrictions and applies to all students both on and off campus. Please check your Dal email frequently for updates from the university and the Dal Residence Office.

Last updated: October 4

Government information

The Government of Canada continues to advise Canadians to avoid non-essential travel.

Please note that government restrictions (both Canada and Nova Scotia) are subject to change at any time. Refer to the following websites for the latest international and domestic travel information:

•    Government of Canada
•    Government of Nova Scotia

We also encourage students to visit COVID-19: your safety and security outside of Canada.

If you are arriving in Nova Scotia from elsewhere in Canada

Nova Scotia's borders are open to travellers from all Canadian provinces and territories. Students will need to apply to enter by completing the Nova Scotia Safe Check-In and self-isolation requirements will apply based on vaccination status. Students are required to upload proof of their vaccination to the Nova Scotia Safe Check-In application when they apply for entry as well as be prepared to show proof of vaccination upon entry to Nova Scotia.

  • If you have had two doses of vaccine at least 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia, you are allowed to enter the province without self-isolating. Testing remains recommended.

  • If you are not fully vaccinated (partially vaccinated with a first dose of a 2-dose COVID-19 vaccine or combination of COVID-19 vaccines, or have not received any COVID-19 vaccines) at least 14 days before arriving in Nova Scotia, you must self-isolate for at least seven days and cannot leave isolation until you receive two negative tests results while in Nova Scotia.

Tests must be a PCR test (not a rapid test) and can be booked online at testing sites across the province. You are allowed to leave self-isolation to get tested.

Permanent residents of Nova Scotia returning to the province areallowed to enter Nova Scotia. If you are coming from outside Atlantic Canada you will need to complete the Nova Scotia Safe Check-In and follow the self-isolation procedures as described above.

If you are an international student arriving in Nova Scotia from outside Canada

Visit the Dalhousie International Centre’s Immigration and COVID-19 Updates website for a step-by-step process on entering Canada and Nova Scotia. 

International students with valid study permits are allowed to enter the country for the purpose of attending an approved Designated Learning Institution (DLI). Dalhousie is an approved DLI and we are pleased to welcome international students to our campuses. Refer to the Government of Canada Travel exemptions and restrictions for international students for more information.

If you are travelling to Canada from another country, you may qualify for certain quarantine and testing exemptions if you:

The Government of Canada has recently provided recommendations for international travellers (who are coming to Canada to live, work, or study) who have been vaccinated with vaccines that are not authorized by Health Canada.

If you are a Canadian student returning to Nova Scotia from international travel

For domestic students flying into Canada  

All travellers arriving from international locations, regardless of citizenship, are required to follow testing and quarantine requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Detailed information, including checklists, are provided on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders website that includes a Flying to Canada requirements checklist. Requirements for entering Nova Scotia are provided on the Nova Scotia government Coronavirus: COVID-19 travel website that includes the Apply to travel to Nova Scotia (Safe Check-in Form).

For domestic students driving into Canada from another country

All travellers arriving from international locations, regardless of citizenship, are required to follow testing and quarantine requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Detailed information, including checklists, are provided on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19: Travel, testing, quarantine and borders website that includes a Driving to Canada requirements checklist. Requirements for entering Nova Scotia are provided on the Nova Scotia government Coronavirus: COVID-19 travel website that includes the Apply to travel to Nova Scotia (Safe Check-in Form).

What forms do I need to complete to enter Nova Scotia (Halifax or Truro)?

All post-secondary students entering Nova Scotia except for those travelling from within Atlanic Canada) must apply to enter by completing the Nova Scotia Safe Check-in form.

Students are required to upload proof of their vaccination with a Health Canada approved vaccine to the Nova Scotia Safe Check-In application when they apply for entry as well as be prepared to show proof of vaccination upon entry to Nova Scotia.

Information regarding the process, including the required documentation to show at the Nova Scotia border, is included on the Apply to travel to Nova Scotia (Safe Check-in Form) website. For information specific to student travellers, refer to the Post-secondary section of the Nova Scotia government Coronavirus (COVID-19): education and childcare website.

How soon before the start of the school year can I come to Nova Scotia?

Nova Scotia’s borders are open to all Canadian provinces and territories as of June 30, with self-isolation requirements that vary based on vaccination status (see details in the questions above). 

Students should plan to arrive with enough time to complete their individual isolation requirements prior to the start of classes.

International students can arrive in Nova Scotia to attend online or in-person classes in enough time to isolate before classes start.  International students should plan to arrive no more than 4 weeks prior to the start of the semester.

Additional travel precautions

Whether you are travelling locally or internationally, these travel precautions can help keep you and other safe.

Before departing:

  • Review the regulations governing travel to your destination, as travel restrictions may change. If you are travelling within Canada, please review information specific to your province or territory. If travelling outside of Canada, please check for any travel advisories for your destination. 
  • If you are traveling internationally, visit International SOS, an online portal that provides information on safety and medical risks across 220 countries. Please use Dal membership # 27ASCA824913. We also encourage you to visit COVID-19: your safety and security outside of Canada.
  • During the weeks leading up to your departure, take extra precautions when socializing, follow public health rules about gathering limits, and avoid known areas of potential COVID-19 exposure to minimize your risk of infection.
  • Continue to be diligent regarding wearing a non-medical mask and follow the social distancing directives from Public Health.
  • Wash your hands often, especially before and after entering a public place.

Day of travel:

  • Reduce the number of stops on the trip, whether it’s during the drive from your place of residence to the airport, or public places along the route during a trip by car.
  • Delay your travel if you are sick, have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have been exposed to someone who has been recently diagnosed.
  • Take safety precautions during travel: wear face masks, stay 2 metres (6 feet) apart from others as much as possible, sit as far away from other passengers as possible, carry and use hand sanitizer, wipe any touchable surfaces with sanitizing wipes.
  • Confirm any requirements or restrictions at your travel destination.
  • The least risky option is private transportation by yourself or with your family members.
  • Wash your hands often, especially before and after entering a public place.

Vaccination information

If you are arriving in Nova Scotia before getting vaccinated

Unvaccinated post-secondary students or those who have received only one vaccination (including international and non-resident students) will be able to get vaccinated in Nova Scotia. Students who do not have a Nova Scotia health card cannot book appointments online. Instead, they must call 1-833-621-1400. Please refer to travel instructions above as there are restrictions for non-vaccinated individuals entering Nova Scotia from most jurisdictions.

Refer to the Nova Scotia government Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine website for more information.

The Government of Canada has recently provided recommendations for international travellers (who are coming to Canada to live, work, or study) who have been vaccinated with vaccines that are not authorized by Health Canada.

Is proof of vaccination needed to be on campus?

Students, faculty, and staff will need to provide proof of their vaccination status prior to accessing university campuses. Students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated, or choose not to provide proof of vaccination, will have to undergo COVID-19 testing twice a week and will be required to provide proof that the testing has taken place. Learn more about Campus Check.

Self-isolation information (if required)

Preparing for self-isolation

If you are required to self-isolate:

·       Arrange for a place to stay to self-isolate. The Nova Scotia website provides up-to-date information on what is required and expected for those travelling into the province.

·       Check-in with Public Health Plan. Every student travelling into Nova Scotia from outside the province needs to complete a Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (self-declaration) prior to travelling into the province. You may also need to complete a digital check in each day of your isolation period. This will be sent to the email address you indicated on your Nova Scotia Safe Check-in Form (please check your junk and clutter folders). If you fail to check-in each day, the police will visit your address listed to confirm your compliance.

·       Arrange for transportation to the location where you will be isolating. Avoid taking public transportation (like a bus) if possible and do not take public transportation if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Go directly to where you will be self-isolating. Do not make any stops on the way there (unless it is essential). Once you arrive at your self-isolation location, you need to stay in that location while you’re self-isolating (you cannot change locations).

·       Arrange to have groceries and supplies (such as toiletries and cleaning supplies) delivered upon your arrival (and during your quarantine, if needed). You can also plan to have meals delivered, as long as you do not need to have contact with the delivery service. Ensure you have a payment method available for ordering meals from local restaurants. Do not use cash.

·       Should you be in self-isolation while studying, ensure you have access to a computer/laptop and internet/WiFi at the location where you will be self-isolating.

·       Request accommodations, if needed. If there are design or delivery aspects in one or more of your courses (online or in-person) that result in barriers to your participation while you are self-isolating, contact the Student Accessibility Centre. Students studying at the Agricultural Campus can contact the Student Success Centre.

·       Ensure you have a thermometer available and check your temperature twice daily. Other supplies to have on hand in case you get sick include a box of tissues and fever-reducing medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You will also want to ensure you obtain any prescription medication you may need while self-isolating.

Watch for symptoms. Symptoms can vary from person to person and in different age groups. Some of the more common symptoms include fever (chills, sweats), new or worsening cough, sore throat, runny nose or nasal congestion, headache and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to COVID-19. You can use the Self-Assessment tool to determine if you require a Covid-19 test.

·       Plan daily check-ins with friends and family. Self-isolation can be lonely. Arranging to talk with friends and family over the telephone or through video calls is a great way to socialize while keeping your distance.

·       Check-in with yourself. If you are starting to feel stress, apprehension or sadness, help is available. Dalhousie Student Health & Wellness offers a variety of resources and services in both Halifax and Truro campuses, including same-day counselling and online workshops and programming, all aimed to support students’ mental health. Visit to see all the resources available to you.

Where can you quarantine/self-isolate?

Options for self-isolating off campus  

Below are some other options for self-isolating off campus.



International students
International students should visit our Immigration and COVID-19 page for information about travel and arrival requirements specific to them.

Mental health support

Students are encouraged to think about their own mental health and wellness support plan, prior to their arrival on campus and there are a number of mental health supports available virtually.

Health plan

Every Dalhousie student must have health insurance coverage. “Coverage" refers to everything that your health plan includes/covers (for example, health services, treatments, and appointments, including anything related to COVID-19). For information, visit Student Health Plans.

Your responsibilities on and off campus

Expectations for students

Students are expected to comply with the university and government policies, plans, and directives related to COVID-19. Basic expectations of students include, but are not limited to:

•    Monitoring and adhering to travel restrictions and self-isolation requirements as issued by the Province of Nova Scotia
•    Following public health restrictions that are in place (masks, distancing, gathering, etc.)
•    Getting tested if required — or on a regular basis.

Simple, individual actions can help keep everyone safe.

Masks are mandatory indoors and on public transportation

While mask requirements may be lifted in Nova Scotia prior to September, it is currently mandatory to wear non-medical face masks in any indoor public spaces in Nova Scotia, as well as on public transportation. At Dal, this applies to all staff, faculty, students and visitors to campus who are travelling through or working/studying in any indoor common areas and public spaces including buildings, libraries, food establishments, residences, hallways, stairwells, elevators, and common study areas.

Physical distancing (2 metres/6 feet) must still be observed while wearing non-medical masks.

You are free to remove your non-medical mask in personal, private workspaces where a distance of two metres can be observed, or within students’ private residence rooms. You may also remove your mask briefly while eating and drinking, providing you are stationary and observing a safe physical distance from others.

Masks will also be mandatory inside Dalplex, but patrons/members are not required to wear masks during their workout activity.

Exceptions to these requirements can include individuals with valid medical reasons or other personal circumstances.

For more information, see Requirements for wearing a mask.

Items to add to your packing list

Students are strongly encouraged to bring a supply of hand soap, sanitizer, non-medical masks, a thermometer, and prescriptions/medications for the semester. Students may also want to bring cleaning products that are Health Canada compliant in order to keep their apartments or rooms clean and disinfected.

If you’re staying in residence, visit our Residence website for a list of items you may wish to bring.

Can families/supporters help students move?

Yes, provided they are allowed to enter Nova Scotia (meeting any self-isolaton requirements, parents or others from outside Nova Scotia are allowed to pick students up or drop them off.

Residence students

Information on move-in details, dining halls, and frequently asked questions about residence can be found on the Residence website.

Students living off campus

If you are living off-campus, the two big considerations are:

  1. Do you need to self-isolate?
  2. Do any of your roommates/housemates need to self-isolate?

If you need to self-isolate:

You will need to make arrangements for 14 days of food and provisions before you arrive.

  • Local grocery stores offer online order services (note: pick-up only; delivery is not provided), like Atlantic Superstore and Walmart
  • Local taxi companies also provide food delivery service. 
  • There are also many options in Halifax for take-out restaurant meals and delivery services.
  • Discover Halifax lists restaurants that are currently open. 
  • Food delivery, groceries and snack providers in Halifax include Room ServiceSkip the DishesDoor Dash.
  • The Dalhousie Student Union also runs a community food bank.

If your roommate/housemate needs to self-isolate:

Provincial regulations state that you must self-monitor but not self-isolate [PDF]. This means that you must maintain a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from your roommate/housemate, use a separate bathroom (if possible), and monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19

You may still leave your house/apartment to go to work, to pick up essential items and run essential errands, but you should not participate in any public gatherings or have visitors in your home. 

You have an important role in keeping our community safe

We ask for your understanding and cooperation in respecting the Nova Scotia Public Health directives (outlined above) that are in place around self-isolation and wearing masks. We all have a responsibility to follow the health-related measures that are instituted by the Province and those put in place by the university, the city, local businesses, and landlords.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

Students living off campus who are required to self-isolate because of COVID-19 symptoms, COVID-19 exposure, or a positive test should self-isolate in their apartment or house. They should limit their interactions with others in the same apartment/house and ensure that proper cleaning of any shared washroom(s) occurs before and after use. 

Off-campus students are also strongly encouraged to contact Dalhousie’s Student Health and Wellness Centre for support in their symptom management. 

Safety on campus

If you’re spending time on campus this spring/summer: 

  • Everyone is expected to maintain a safe physical distance of 2 metres (or 6 feet) at all times.
  • You’ll find directional arrows and one-way signage in many hallways, stairwells and corridors, and some services will be delivered through a physical barrier (such as a plexiglass divider).
  • You’ll be required to wear non-medical masks or face coverings (such as cloth or disposable masks) in indoor common spaces. This includes public spaces like buildings, libraries, dining areas, residences, hallways, stairwells, elevators and common study areas.
  • You are free to remove your non-medical mask in personal, private workspaces and while you’re eating — provided a distance of 2 metres (6 feet) is maintained — and in private residence rooms. You don’t have to wear a mask in a classroom or lab but are encouraged to do so.
  • You’ll see our Custodial Services team ensuring frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces in common building areas, including doorknobs, light switches, handrails, bathrooms and more.

Students taking courses on campus or living in residence can expect to receive more information about specific health and safety protocols in those spaces.

Courses and learning

Fall and winter term 2021-22

Most classes will be able to be offered safely in person. Please contact the Associate Dean Academic in your Faculty if you have questions or for more specific information about your courses or programs.

Online learning website

Our Online Learning website helps students navigate online classes. The site provides information on technology and platforms, what to expect (course delivery, online tests, assignments, grades), resources, and tips for succeeding in an online learning environment.   


Many classes are using e-textbooks and other electronic resources available from the Dal Libraries. If your class is using a physical textbook, you can order it through the Dal Bookstore, and they can be shipped to you in residence, or wherever you're studying from this fall. The Bookstore also offers curbside pick up. Information about textbooks will be included on the syllabus for each of your classes, available through Brightspace.

Connect with your classmates

Download the Dal Mobile app to bring campus to your fingertips and connect with classmates via our social feed.  

Remember to set up your Dal email

Your Dal email is where all official university information is sent, so be sure you have set up your Dal email account.

Be kind to others

Being kind and caring to one another during this stressful time will go a long way to helping everyone’s mental health. Check in virtually on friends and family and show compassion for those facing challenges. Do your part to stay as healthy as possible. We are all in this together!