Ontario education minister postpones March break to April 12

Ontario education minister expected to announce decision on March break Photo Credit: The Canadian Press

TORONTO —  Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce says the province is postponing March Break to the week of April 12. The move is intended to keep Ontario students safe and limit community spread of COVID-19.

Lecce said pushing back instead of cancelling the break is “an important way that schools can help to limit community transmission” of COVID-19.

The province’s largest teachers’ union had called on the government to keep March break in place, saying students, families and teachers need the time off.

The Ontario Public School Board Association has also supported March break happening as scheduled.

The Opposition NDP have said the break should go ahead as planned and called on the government to provide clarity on the decision as soon as possible.

All students began in January with remote learning as part of a provincial lockdown. The government then took a gradual approach to reopening physical classrooms, starting with northern and rural areas.

Students in Toronto, Peel Region and York Region remain the only ones now left learning exclusively online and are set to return to physical classrooms on Feb. 16.

Top doctors in Toronto and Peel have warned that rolling back other restrictions as students resume in-person learning amid the spread of new virus variants could kick off a worse wave of infections.

The provincial and the federal governments have been urging residents to limit their travel.

The federal government recently introduced its own policies aimed at preventing travel over the spring break. Four major airlines have said flight would be halted from Canada to Mexico and the Caribbean until the end of April.

The provincial government has also introduced mandatory COVID-19 testing for all international arrivals to Ontario.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2021.

With files from the Canadian Press