Make that ‘April break’ — March break postponed until April 12-16

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce, during a March 3, 2020 broadcast.

EASTERN ONTARIO — Having barely returned to their classrooms, the kids won’t be pulled from school for the usual March break next month.

“In support of our collective efforts to keep schools safe, we are postponing March break until April 12-16, 2021,” Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce announced today.

The minister said the measure was necessary to avoid a repeat of the youth-related spike in COVID-19 case numbers after the Christmas holidays “when students and staff were out of schools for a prolonged period of time.

“We are taking this precaution based on advice from health experts, including the province’s Science Table and the Chief Medical Officer of Health, to help protect against the emerging COVID-19 variants of concern.”

“With respect to travel, our government’s position on this is unchanged. Ontarians should refrain from travelling, particularly given the increase in new variants that pose a direct risk to our country. Please stay at home as much as possible and continue following the direction of public health officials so that we can keep schools open and protect our seniors, frontline health workers and all families,” Lecce said.

The decision comes as the province weighed competing interests that favoured or opposed going ahead with the usual March break. The ministry says it consulted Feb. 2 with trustees’ associations, teacher federations, education worker unions, and principal and vice-principal associations to get their valuable perspectives. Additional feedback was provided from stakeholders via written submissions.

As of Feb. 16, 2021, all students across Ontario will be able to resume in-person learning — a service that returned to Eastern Ontario last week.

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