The Ontario government has made the decision to defer March Break by around a month. Education Minister Stephen Lecce made the much-awaited announcement at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
“In support of our collective efforts to keep schools safe, we are postponing March break until April 12-16, 2021. This decision was made with the best advice of Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health and public health officials, including consultations with many local Medical Officers of Health,” Lecce said. “Many students have been learning remotely since the start of 2021. It is critical we follow public health advice to protect schools and avoid a repeat of the concerning spike in youth-related cases over the winter break, 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.”
When asked if concerns about travel or break in continuity of learning prompted the deferment decision, Ontario’s top doctor said there are a variety of reasons. These include preventing the spread of highly-transmissible COVID-19 in the community through travel and gatherings associated with March Break. Learning was also a factor as well as minimizing in-person contacts till more people are vaccinated.
“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,” provincial officials added in a statement about the postponement of March Break.