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COVID-19 Questions And Answers For Parents/Guardians

To assist in answering questions from parents, Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) has provided additional information to share.

Why are child care centres not being closed like schools?

It is important to note that classes are suspended. Schools are not closed. This is a preventative action to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing. After consulting with the Chief Provincial Public Health Officer, child care facilities do not need to pause or suspend services at this time.

Many existing regulatory requirements for child care centres already support social distancing, with regulated sizes setting out how many children can be gathered together (8 infants, 16 preschoolers), useable indoor floor area per licensed space in centres (3.3 square meters) and staff to child ratios. Child care centres also have a smaller number of children as compared to most schools, which lowers the risk.

Staff will continue to care for children, which includes staff-to-child contact. However best practices for hygiene are already in place, such as cleaning and sanitizing schedules for high-touch surfaces and keeping a two-week health and hygiene supply.

The situation will be continuously monitored and evaluated to ensure the health and safety of children.

 

What is being done to keep children safe?

Department staff are working closely with public health officials to provide direction to child care centres. This includes:

  • Following recommended cleaning and disinfecting requirements
  • Not allowing children who are unwell to attend
  • Calling parents and guardians to immediately take them home should they become unwell (for example, if a child has a cold) and
  • Dividing children into smaller groups for all activities.

 

When picking up children, adults will be asked not to touch children other than their own

Staff will not attend work when exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms

If a staff person or child attending the centre is presumed to have COVID-19, centres will follow public health direction.

The department will monitor all provincial public health directives and ensure this information is communicated to all child care centres.

 

What happens if a child or one of their family members tests positive for      COVID-19?

Public health officials will be contacted to assess the matter and provide direction to the facility.

The Early Learning and Child Care program will help the child care centre to ensure that all public health directives are followed, including communication to parents/guardians of other children at the centre.

 

What happens if a staff member exhibits symptoms or tests positive?

Staff will be directed to stay at home if they are not feeling well.

Public health officials will be contacted to assess the matter and provide direction to the facility.

The Early Learning and Child Care program will help the child care center to ensure that all public health directives are followed, including communication to parents/guardians of other children at the centre.

 

If child care facilities close, how can parents manage child care arrangements?

No changes in child care services are expected at this time.

However, parents are strongly encouraged to explore child care options in case the current situation changes. Parents and guardians should already have contingency plans in place when their child is unwell and cannot attend child care. These plans should be confirmed and your alternate care providers should be asked if they could assist should child care become unavailable.

Parents and guardians are also encouraged to speak with their employers about their family’s needs.

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