An emergency child care facility for front-line and health-care workers has been approved for Muskoka as parents struggle to find care for their children amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
According to district officials, the centre will be able to support up to 20 children of essential workers.
“On April 3, the district launched a child care needs assessment survey to better understand the needs for emergency child care in Muskoka and to better assess the capacity of the child care sector to meet those needs,” officials say.
“Through this process, a third-party licensed child care operator expressed interest in providing emergency child care services and the district…made an application to the province, which was approved last week.”
The emergency centre is exclusively reserved for children of essential service workers who have no other alternatives.
Muskoka officials say the district will continue to work with the province of Ontario, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and the third-party licensed operator to ensure health and safety protocols are in place and to respond to municipal and provincial pandemic plans.
Essential workers can apply for emergency child care in Muskoka through the district’s website, starting 8 a.m. Tuesday. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
On March 17, Ontario ordered licensed child care centres to close when it declared a state of emergency due to the novel coronavirus. The province’s ministry of education has been working with service system managers, including Muskoka, to re-open certain centres to provide emergency care.