Arriving in Nova Scotia


Planning your arrival: What you need to know

Whether you are living on- or off-campus this fall, if you are coming to Nova Scotia, please see below for important information on planning your arrival. This information may change, so please check your Dal email frequently for updates from the university and the Dal Residence Office.

Nova Scotia Public Health directives

On March 22, 2020, the Government of Nova Scotia declared a State of Emergency in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result of the State of Emergency, borders closed to inter-provincial travel. Anyone travelling from outside of Nova Scotia was required to self-isolate for 14 days.

On July 3, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland formed an “Atlantic Bubble.” Inter-provincial travel was once again permitted for residents of Atlantic Canada; however, visitors to Nova Scotia from outside of the four Atlantic provinces are still required to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

If you are arriving Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada:


All students entering Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.

You will receive a daily digital check-in email from the government to verify that you are self-isolating/self-quarantining. You will need to complete this check-in daily. Please check your junk/spam folder if you are not receiving these emails.

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.


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.


Students arriving on or after September 22, 2020 are not required to get COVID-19 testing during their self-isolation period if they 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 are concerned you have been exposed to, or may be experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please visit for information on assessment.

What does it mean to have to self-isolate for 14 days?

Everyone who travels from outside Atlantic Canada into Nova Scotia (including travelling through Nova Scotia to another destination) must self-isolate for 14 days when they arrive in Nova Scotia, or for the duration of their stay if it’s less than 14 days. If they have already self-isolated in another Atlantic Canadian province (New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island), they may enter Nova Scotia without self-isolating again.

Self-isolation means you go directly to your destination and stay there for 14 days — excepting leaving to complete any necessary testing — or for the duration of your stay if it’s less than 14 days. Don’t have visitors. Make plans to have groceries and other supplies delivered.

If you began your self-isolation on or after August 21, you will receive a daily digital check-in email from the government to verify that you are self-isolating/self-quarantining. You will need to complete this check-in daily. Please check your junk/spam folder if you are not receiving these emails.

International students entering Canada

Currently, international students may enter Canada for the purposes of pursuing a program of post-secondary study, for which they have secured a study permit or approval, subject to conditions set out in the Quarantine Act, and Emergency Orders made under the Quarantine Act. International students are required to self-isolate upon arrival. (See information in "Where can you self-isolate?" question below.)

International travellers are required to check-in within 48 hours of arrival through the ArriveCAN app or call 1-833-641-0343.

Violating any instructions provided to you when you entered Canada is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to 6 months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.

For more information, see Travelling into Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada.

For international travellers, see the Government of Canada’s For travellers without symptoms of COVID-19 returning to Canada.

Please refer to our Immigration and Updates page for more information.

Where can you self-isolate?

Self-isolating in residence

Residence students may self-isolate in either Howe Hall on the Halifax campus or Fraser House on the Agricultural campus beginning Aug. 22. The fee ranges from $20-$150 in total, depending on when you arrive. Meals are not included. You must order out for your meals, which will be delivered to your room between pre-set hours.

Students who choose to self-isolate in residence must comply with the following:

  • Remain in their rooms as much as possible
  • Limit movement outside of room to use of the bathroom (if no private/semi-private bath available)
  • No visitors or guests will be permitted, even within the same residence
  • Students will be permitted to go for walks, but must stay on campus and maintain physical distance (2 metres/6 feet) from others

Lounges, kitchens, study rooms, and other common areas will be closed. The possession and/or consumption of intoxicating substances (alcohol, cannabis, others) is prohibited. As mandated by Nova Scotia Public Health, students in self-isolation will only be permitted to leave their assigned living area under very limited circumstances. More information on self-isolating in residence can be found on our Residence website.

We appreciate that some of the self-isolation restrictions may feel limiting and will likely be an adjustment for students who are used to more freedom.

Other options for self-isolating off campus

Students who live off-campus and have their own apartments/accomodations are encouraged to self-isolate where it is most comfortable. 

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



Masks are mandatory indoors and on public transportation

As of July 31, it is 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.

Getting to your self-isolation destination

Dalhousie will be not be providing a shuttle service for airport pickups. The ground transportation desk at the airport will have access to many taxis who are all following public health requirements. Students can request a taxi there and will be required to wear a mask while in the taxi. If you are self-isolating at a hotel, your hotel may also offer transportation services. Please remember that once you arrive at your destination, you must begin self-isolation and should not use public transportation. You must not make any stops on the way to your destination.

Can families/supporters help students move?

All travellers entering Nova Scotia from outside Atlantic Canada must adhere to public health directives surrounding self-isolation.

If you are moving into residence and have a family member or support person travelling with you from outside the Atlantic bubble, they may help you move in to your self-isolation accommodations, but will be required to leave the residence immediately after helping you move in and will not be permitted to return. They may leave Nova Scotia immediately to return home, stopping only for food, gas, and hotel. No sight-seeing, shopping, or visiting relatives or friends is permitted. If they choose to stay, they will need to self-isolate immediately in a hotel or another location for a 14-day period. During this time, no restaurants, shopping, sight-seeing, or visiting with other contacts is permitted. They must follow the self-isolation requirements (see above question "What does it mean to have to self-isolate?").

If you are moving into housing off campus and have a family member or support person travelling with you from outside the Atlantic bubble, they may help you move in and if they choose to stay, they must self-isolate with you (or in a hotel/other accommodations). During this time, no restaurants, shopping, sight-seeing, or visiting with other contacts is permitted. They must follow the self-isolation requirements as set out by the province (see above question "What does it mean to have to self-isolate?"). If family/supporters choose to stay, they are not required to stay for the full 14 days; however, if they choose to leave before the end of the 14-day isolation period, they must go directly home, stopping only for food, gas, and hotel.  

We also recommend you check with your landlord in advance to ensure you follow appropriate health and safety protocols during move in.

Your responsibilities on and off campus

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
  • Maintaining physical distancing requirements (2 metres/6 feet)
  • Wearing non-medical face masks, as expected, directed, or required
  • Limiting the size of indoor and outdoor gatherings (view gathering restrctions for Nova Scotia)

Simple, individual actions can directly reduce the risk of community spread.

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. 

Support for students during self-isolation

During the self-isolation period, students will have access to a range of virtual programs.


The Dalhousie Student Union and Student Affairs are organizing orientation activities, which will include both synchronous and asynchronous events. Many Faculties are also holding orientations. You will be receiving information about these orientation events by email.

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.

Residence supports

Residence Life will conduct regular (virtual and/or by phone) check-ins with students who are self-isolating. Residence Life is available 24/7 to answer questions and provide support by calling the front desk or emailing Once students have completed isolation, we will begin running in-person events and activities to help students connect to each other and the residence community.

Preparing for classes online

Our Online Learning website helps students navigate online classes this fall. 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.

Winter term

An announcement for winter term will be made in August.

Connect with your classmates

Before classes begin, we’ll be launching our Dal Mobile app to bring campus to your fingertips and enable you to connect with classmates. An invite to download the app will be sent to your Dal email account.

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.

Keeping you safe on campus

If you’re spending time on campus this fall, you’ll see some changes as we work to ensure the continued health and safety of everyone who studies and works at Dalhousie.

  • 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.    

Be kind to others

It is possible that a case of COVID-19 might come to campus as we re-open and welcome our students back. It will take a united effort to keep it at bay. 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 afflicted with COVID-19. Do your part to stay as healthy as possible. We are all in this together!