'I'm so exhausted and demoralized': Workers unhappy after Ontario postpones March Break over COVID-19 woes

Elisabetta Bianchini
·3 min read
TORONTO, ON- DECEMBER 4  -  Children play in the outside on the playground at Ogden Junior Public School  in Toronto. December 4, 2020.           (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON- DECEMBER 4 - Children play in the outside on the playground at Ogden Junior Public School in Toronto. December 4, 2020. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Ontario's Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, announced Thursday that the province will be postponing March Break until Apr. 12 to Apr. 16.

"Postponing March Break, not cancelling it, is an important way that schools can help to limit community transmission," Lecce said.

"We recognize that congregation is a key driver of the spread of COVID-19, something we realized over the winter break, and we will not take that risk again with your child, with our staff, with Ontario families."

Lecce said this delay is occuring during particular concerns about COVID-19 variants that are more transmissable and spreading in the community.

Lecce said the province consulted with the teachers unions, trustees' associations, and principal associations but the decision was made to "protect their staff and protect our students."

The province is also stressing that any travel should not occur, even within Canada.

"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," a statement from the education minister reads.

Lecce stressed that although this delay is not mandated for private schools in Ontario, he expects them to follow suit.

"We cannot take these risks for all students in the province," he said. "We are very much expecting cooperation with us."

The Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) released a joint statement after the announcement stating that delaying March Break is "not in best interest of students, teachers, education workers, and families."

"The government’s decision to postpone March Break does not take into consideration the mental health and well-being of those involved," the statement reads.

"The postponement of March Break shows, yet again, the inadequacies of the Progressive Conservative government’s planning... Why did Premier Doug Ford reopen the economy when it is clear risks remain? Is he concerned that his stay-at-home orders are ineffective? If so, he should address the real issue: this government’s ongoing failure to prevent the spread of COVID-19."

People in Ontario also took to social media to respond to the postponement of March Break in the province.

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