Child-care accessibility in Saskatchewan schools expanding with reopen plan

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan opens child-care spaces to children of non-essential workers' Coronavirus outbreak: Saskatchewan opens child-care spaces to children of non-essential workers
WATCH: Saskatchewan opens child-care spaces to children of non-essential workers – Apr 30, 2020

People returning to work under the first two phases of the Reopen Saskatchewan plan will have access to licensed child-care services, according to the government.

Over 2,100 spaces in 47 school-based centres continue to operate as part of a reserved supply for coronavirus pandemic response workers, according to a press release.

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Government officials said there is capacity within that supply to expand accessibility to other workers starting on May 4.

“As we move to gradually reopen Saskatchewan, we know that parents, caregivers and families returning to work will need child care support, and we are helping them by ensuring their children are safe and well cared for,” Education Minister Gordon Wyant said in a press release on Thursday.

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“I want to recognize and extend my sincere appreciation to child care centres and staff who have continued to operate to provide this important service.”

READ MORE: Licensed daycares in Saskatchewan still open amid novel coronavirus pandemic

The centres within Saskatchewan schools will continue to operate within the guidelines provided by Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer, which includes a maximum of eight children per room.

The application form for in-school child-care centres can be found on the government’s website.

Government officials said roughly 350 non-school-based child-care centres and homes also continue to operate.

At a press conference, Premier Scott Moe said they encourage people to reach out and consider a place in the home-based daycares.

“We have over 350 home-based daycares as well as 1,500 spaces at our school-based daycares that we are making available and trying to do what we can to ensure that families do have access as they make their child-care decisions between now and what would normally be the end of the school year,” he said.

“I would encourage families to make their own decisions with respect to who they reach out to, with respect to their individual child-care needs. If there is opportunities to work at home, as I said, we continue to encourage that… I’m hopeful across this province that families will be able to make the appropriate decisions.”

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Moe added that in phase three of the plan, daycares will be allowed to expand from their current capacity of eight children per room.

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Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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