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An empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary School in Vancouver, BC. Monday 23 March 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward)
The Ontario government is considering the possibility of canceling the March vacation for tens of thousands of students in Ottawa and across Ontario.
Education Secretary Stephen Lecce tells CTV Morning Live that he expects to hear from Chief Medical Officer for Health, Dr. David Williams for advice on whether to continue the week for students and teachers or keep them at school to limit the spread of COVID-19.
« My decision point will be made solely on medical advice. If you believe that the cancellation of the break is due to deterrent travel and in the best interests of public health, I will fully follow this advice, » said Lecce on Thursday morning / p>
Last week, Eastern Ontario Health Officer Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, proposed to cancel the March break for all students to keep the number of COVID-19 cases in the community low.
« I think if kids stay in school it won’t be a problem, » said Roumeliotis. « If kids don’t stay home and parents keep them home during the spring break and don’t mingle with others, it won’t be a problem, but what we saw over the Christmas break was really the opposite. The numbers really have increased fourfold Positivity for the age group between 11 and 13, for example. «
« I suspect we will get the final opinion from the Chief Medical Officer of Health in the coming days. We hope to be able to tell the parents next week, give them enough time, » said Lecce.
« Of course, parents and families shouldn’t travel completely openly and transparently. We know the risks of the new variant, we want to keep people at home – we think it’s important to send the message. »
Elementary and secondary school students in Ottawa returned to class for face-to-face learning on Monday after four weeks of virtual learning after the Christmas break. Students in Eastern Ontario returned to class Tuesday and Wednesday.
Harvey Bishop, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, told CTV News Ottawa last week that educators, students and parents need a break.
According to Lecce, the Ontario government wants to protect families, children and schools during the pandemic.
« I assure you that in Ontario we will not endanger families at risk. We will not allow any measures that could worsen the transmission of COVID or these new variants that create risks for our families, » said Lecce.
« We’re going to take the advice and really want to get the kids back to school – that’s important. »
Full local coverage of COVID-19 in Ottawa
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Full coverage at CTVNews.ca/Coronavirus
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