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Ontario’s education minister expected to announce decision on March Break this afternoon

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TORONTO —
Ontario’s education minister is expected to announce the province’s decision on March Break this afternoon.

At a news conference being held at Queen’s Park, Stephen Lecce will be joined by Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams.

The news conference is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. CTVNewsToronto.ca will stream it live as soon as it begins.

Lecce told CP24 last week that he had sought advice from Williams on whether to keep schools open during the week-long break, currently scheduled for March 12-16.

He said at the time that the decision would be based “exclusively on public health imperatives” and that he expected to have a recommendation by this week.

“At the end of the day, people should not be travelling, we are encouraging people to stay in this province and stay in their communities,” he said. “We know about these new variants we do not want to bring more of them into our province.”

“But, our government is going to continue to listen to the science. We will communicate it well in advance of March Break.”

Earlier this week, Ontario’s Official Opposition called on the government to not cancel March Break.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said students, parents and teachers are “burning out” and are in desperate need of a break from the strain of virtual classrooms and the stress of health protocols from in-class learning – echoing a call from education unions.

Ontario schools were switched to remote-only learning following the winter holiday break as case counts surged but the provincial government has gradually been allowing students to return to classrooms in recent weeks as case counts have declined.

Schools in an additional 13 public health units reopened on Monday, including Durham and Halton regions.

Meanwhile, schools in Toronto, York and Peel are set to reopen on Feb. 16.

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