Joanne Sallay executed the perfect getaway plan for March Break, or so she believed, after pulling her five-year-old son, Evan, and two-year-old daughter, Rebecca, from school and daycare a day ahead of the annual stampede of families to Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Sallay’s family trip took her to Florida, and the condo she and her husband, Michael Handelsman, and the kids would be sharing for the week with her snowbird parents, George and Rhona. All, as they say, was fair and bright, that is, until the day after they arrived — March 11 — when the unwinding parents turned on the news and watched as U.S. President Donald Trump declared the pandemic, a nothing-has-been-the-same-since moment Sallay met with a dollop of disbelief.
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“Here I thought we had planned the perfect holiday,” the 39-year-old said on a breezy August afternoon in Toronto.
Sallay is president of Teachers on Call, an in-person tutoring service her teacher-Mom founded in 1984 since, as the family story goes, everyone could use a little extra-help with calculus. It was calculus, calculus, calculus — physics and chemistry, too — that helped build a thriving family business featuring a roster of 200-plus active and retired teachers as tutors, an office in mid-town Toronto and, as of March 11, a clear and present danger as to its continued existence.