Feb 11th 2021. The Province of Ontario has postponed March Break for students and teacher from March 15th-19th to the week of April 12th 2021. Stephen Lecce, Ontario's Education Minister announced the decision on Thursday afternoon from Queen's Park.
"Postponing March Break, not cancelling it, is an important way that schools can help to limit community transmission," Lecce said. “I recognize that this is one more change in a year that has been challenging for so many students and our education staff who continue to work so hard, but is one made on the best advice of public health officials to keep them safe, and to keep our schools open in this province.”
He further added that the Province's decision was made through consideration of the advice of medical experts and that “congregation is a key driver of the spread of COVID-19.”
Lecce also noted the decision was even more critical as the new COVID-19 strains have appeared in the province.
“The decision to postpone March Break has not been an easy one, but necessary to keep Ontario families safe,” Lecce said. "We are governed by advice by the medical community to limit the potential for transmission and really limit or try to prevent a scenario we saw over the holidays where there was just a massive spike of transmission and positivity of our kids.”
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams added comments stating that when pupils and teachers take their March Break in April, the should still avoid travel and remain in their region. “We are not encouraging travel," Williams said. "@e wouldn't encourage that. We don't want a lot of interprovincial travel either, as well as international, definitely at this time with the very much rising rapid issue of variants of concern.”
Shortly after the announcement, Ontario's four teachers' unions, Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers' Association (OECTA) and the Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), released a joint statement stating that each were “strongly oppose the government’s plan to postpone March Break.”
“These are unprecedented times, and this is a much-needed break for students, teachers, education workers, and families who have been under tremendous pressure throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The government’s decision to postpone March Break does not take into consideration the mental health and well-being of those involved.”