Education Minister Adriana LaGrange stepped out of a cabinet meeting Thursday afternoon to make an announcement that the province will be extending the winter break to January 10 for all students K-12 in response to the Omicron fifth wave. 

"Over the winter break, my department officials and I have spoken with leaders in our educations system about the return to in-person learning. Like all of us, they are worried about the rapid rise of the Omicron variant and the effects on our schools. Staffing challenges are the primary concern as there is concern that the fast-spreading Omicron variant will affect not just teachers and students but all staff, including bus drivers, custodians, support staff, and administration,” LaGrange announced.

With students and staff still on holidays, LaGrange says it is hard to assess how schools will need to respond and schools have shared that they need more time to prepare.

LaGrange added the extra week will help assess staffing and student attendance. 

Minister LaGrange also announced that the high school January diploma exams will be cancelled. 

More information will be provided in an update next week. 

The province will be providing 8.6 million rapid tests to be distributed along with medical-grade masks.