In his daily provincial address, Premier Doug Ford and his government announced that the province’s child-care centres will be allowed to reopen starting this Friday, if they follow the strict public health measures put in place.
This announcement comes after parts of Ontario entered stage two of the province’s reopening plan that also begins on Friday.
Here is a list of what restrictions are being placed in these centres.
- Childcare Grouping: Children and Staff numbers are limited to a maximum of 10 per group
- COVID-19 Response Plan: All childcare settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19
- Screening measures: All staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the childcare setting (Anyone who feels unwell must stay home)
- Daily Attendance Records: Childcare settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing
- Cleaning: Childcare settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently after the initial cleaning, including removal of toys that are likely to spread germs
- No Visitors: Only essential visitors are permitted entry into the childcare setting
- Pick-up and Drop-off Protocols: Implementing ways for parents to pick-up and drop-off children to the childcare setting in a way that facilitates physical distancing
When Ford made the announcement, he stated that the decision to reopen the child-care centres was made with the parents in mind, saying parents “need peace of mind while going back to work”.
When announcing the reopening of these centres, Ford said that the province “will take every measure necessary to keep the staff and kids healthy”.
Because Ontario is entering stage 2, many people are required to return to work and prepare for the reopening or transition into a new work routine influenced by the mandatory health measures.
Speaking alongside Ford for the announcement was Education Minister Stephen Lecce, who said that the provision of child-care for parents returning to work is “critical to getting our economy back on track”.
“This plan was reviewed by the best public health and medical minds in Ontario, including experts at The Hospital for Sick Children,” Lecce said about the centre reopening plan.
“On top of this, we’re directing the removal of all toys that can easily spread germs”.
While staff can re-enter and childcare facilities and begin preparation for reopening. It is only when the childcare facilities have met the guidelines and restrictions for reopening, they will be permitted to officially reopen.
But will child-care centres be able to reopen immediately on Friday?
The province has also acknowledged that despite the announcement, many of the child-care centres will not open right away, with Lecce saying, “we know some of them will take additional time”.
In terms of ensuring spots for children, Lecce has stated that essential workers will have a first preference for spots.
In addition to this, Lecce has also acknowledged that many parents may feel uncomfortable about leaving their kids at a child-care centre since the threat of COVID-19 is still present.
“We will protect these parents by ensuring that you do not lose your spot, nor be charged during this period of time,” Lecce said.
“We believe we should have sufficient capacity to enable parents to utilize childcare, should they need it, given if they are returning to work as part of stage two of reopening”.
Along with this announcement, summer day camps have also been approved for the summer, as long as the same health measures put in place by the child-care centres are used.
Ontario COVID-19 Stats
Confirmed cases: 31,090
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