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Near North students need a break in March, says elementary teachers union

Near North students need a break, and they need it in March.

That’s what the president of the Near North Elementary’s Teachers union, Rob Hammond, had to say on the province’s moving of March break to April. 

“The students in the Near North have been in the classroom or learning online since September. There has been no break in the calendar,” he said. “They deserve the break.”

Stephen Lecce, minister of education, announced Thursday that the traditional March break will be moved to the week of April 12. Lecce said the move was based on the advice of the province’s Medical Officer of Health. 

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“I don’t think the government is basing this on any medical evidence,” Hammond stated. “It’s just a disruption to the kids.”

Between Thanksgiving, the winter holidays, Family Day and Easter, Hammond says the calendar provides natural breaks to students and teachers throughout the school year. 

“If you look at every month, essentially, we have some kind of holiday in there,” he noted. “Now there’s nothing in March.”

With Easter weekend beginning on April 2 (Good Friday), students will have back-to-back four-day weeks followed by a week-long break beginning on April 12.

Hammond says the usual timing of spring break in March is helpful for both students and teachers. 

“It gives people the chance to recharge their batteries and get ready for the rest of their school year,” he said. “Students need a break, families need a break. Unfortunately, the government doesn’t view it that way.”

Despite the provincial lockdown, students in northern Ontario have been able to learn in-class since January 11.

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