The delay in the delivery of the province’s allotted COVID-19 vaccines continues to create havoc in all of our lives.
As many students plan to return to in-person learning, things are still anything but normal. Students will be waiting an additional four weeks to enjoy their spring break as the province has put the brakes on the regularly scheduled March Break that was set to start March 15 and it will instead start April 12.
“In support of our collective efforts to keep schools safe, we are postponing March Break until April 12-16,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said. “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.
“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,” Lecce said. “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. These decisions – based on the advice of medical experts – are never easy, but they are necessary to keep Ontario families safe.”
To support the safe return of in-person learning, Ontario has enhanced new measures to continue to protect students and staff against COVID-19 in the classroom. These measures include:
- Increased provincewide access to targeted asymptomatic testing for students and staff;
- Mandatory masking requirement for students in Grades 1-3, and masking requirement for Grades 1-12 outdoors where physical distancing cannot be maintained;
- Providing 3.5 million high quality masks to schools as back-up supply for Grade 1-12 students;
- Guidance discouraging students and staff from congregating before and after school; and
- Temporary certification of eligible teacher candidates who are set to graduate in 2021 to stabilize staffing levels.
These new measures build on the more than $1.6 billion that Ontario has provided in additional resources to protect schools against the spread of COVID-19.