OSSTF/FEESO MEDIA RELEASE: Postponing March Break not in best interest of students, teachers, education workers, and families, education unions say (original attached)
TORONTO—The Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens (AEFO), the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), and the
Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF/FEESO) released the following statement today.
AEFO, ETFO, OECTA, and OSSTF/FEESO strongly oppose the government’s plan to postpone March Break.
These are unprecedented times, and this is a much-needed break for students, teachers, education workers,
and families who have been under tremendous pressure throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The
government’s decision to postpone March Break does not take into consideration the mental health and wellbeing of those involved.
The postponement of March break shows, yet again, the inadequacies of the Progressive Conservative
government’s planning. If there are concerns related to travel and gatherings during March Break, these should
be addressed by the government through other means. Why did Premier Doug Ford reopen the economy when
it is clear risks remain? Is he concerned that his stay-at-home orders are ineffective? If so, he should address
the real issue: this government’s ongoing failure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Their decision to postpone, despite unanimous opposition from unions representing educators and other
stakeholders in the sector, including all school board associations and the Ontario Principals’ Council, is
another example of this government ignoring experts and making decisions that are reckless and baseless. The
pattern the government has shown in making decisions while ignoring experts and the front-line workers that
are most affected has only served to compound challenges.
This decision demonstrates their lack of understanding about the stress and pressures of learning and working
in a pandemic. Teachers and education workers have gone to extraordinary lengths to teach and support
students every day since the start of the school year, whether in person or online. Their efforts should be
applauded not diminished.
The Ford government must listen to the voices of frontline workers in the education community and immediately
reverse their decision to postpone March Break.