Ontario's education minister said he's considering cancelling March Break as students and educators prepare to head back to the classroom following weeks of online learning.
Stephen Lecce said cancelling the week-long break would help curb the spread of COVID-19 but noted he would follow the province's top doctor's advice before making the final call.
Lecce added that families shouldn't travel "given the emergence of these new variants."
On Thursday, a Public Health Ontario report showed Simcoe Muskoka has the most cases of the coronavirus variant than anywhere in the province.
It revealed that of 1,880 positive COVID-19 test samples, 103 were confirmed or highly likely to be either the UK B.1.1.7 or South African B.1.353 variants of concern.
Of those 103, 89 were from the region's health unit, and all but four were linked to the Roberta Place Long-Term Care home outbreak in Barrie.
Dr. Michael Lisi, chief of staff with Collingwood General and Marine Hospital, said variants are a definite concern because they can "spread faster than the original strain of COVID and may have a higher mortality rate."
The unions representing the province's teachers said if March Break were to be cancelled, it would lead to further issues since several local agreements require a specific number of school days in a year.
NDP education critic Marit Stiles said the spring break was necessary because weeks of online learning has been stressful for all involved.
"I don't know what planet [the government] has been on, but this has not been a break for parents, or kids or on staff," she said. "It has been extraordinarily hard work."
The province did not provide a timeline for when it would announce its decision about cancelling or keeping March Break.
With files from The Canadian Press