To Spring Break, or not

By Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
To Spring Break, or not
Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce during a press conference on Thursday, February 11, 2021.

CORNWALL, Ontario – Provincial and local COVID-19 cases are currently higher than they were in late February when Ontario’s Ministry of Education postponed March Break for a month. The riding numbers have now cast doubt on the upcoming Spring Break, set for April 12-16th.

Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, medical officer of health for the Eastern Ontario Health Unit, said that the decision to possibly delay or cancel the Spring Break again is not as straightforward of a decision as it was in February.

“There’s no question we’re seeing school cases,” he explained. “There has been a lot of disruption in schools with the enhanced protocols. We have to isolate more kids which is causing more disruption and more kids staying at home.”

Roumeliotis questioned that if there are more cases needing isolation and the situation becomes more unmanageable, should in-class learning continue?

“The reason we wanted the March Break to not happen was in the face of lower numbers,” he said.

At the time when Ontario’s Minster of Education Stephen Lecce announced March Break was postponed for a month, provincial COVID-19 numbers were dropping off. Ontario was in the process of reopening from a six-week lock down.

Roumeliotis said that the decision on whether the Spring Break should be postponed again is different than it was a month-and-a-half ago. “Do you keep students in school because it is such a disruptive thing,” he asked. “Don’t forget that we are at different periods of infection rates at this point. The context has changed.”

Roumeliotis said that the issue should be revisited.

“It’s coming to the point we might welcome Spring Break just to give a break,” he said. “What’s happening is there are so many kids going to school that we have to isolate. It may be sensible to have a Spring Break.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said March 29th during a press conference that the numbers were going up “at a rapid speed” but the government wasn’t ready to decide on delaying the Spring Break again.

“By the end of the week we’ll have a clear direction that will still give the people a week-to-ten days notice,” the Premier said. “I understand people have to make plans.”

This story was originally written for, and appeared in The Morrisburg Leader.

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