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Mixed reaction from Edmonton daycares and summer camps over Alberta’s relaunch strategy

Mixed reaction from Edmonton daycares, summer camps over the Alberta’s relaunch strategy
WATCH ABOVE; Since the Alberta government announced its relaunch strategy, an Edmonton daycare has been overwhelmed with families wanting its services and while they look forward to welcome children — not all businesses are. As Chris Chacon explains, an area summer camp is sticking with its current plan to go virtual.

One day after the Alberta government announced that daycares will soon once again be able to open, the phone has not stopped ringing at Global Aware Kids Care in Edmonton.

“As soon as the news came out, our phones and email have been filling up with happy families wanting to come back,” said Allyson Bonkowski, the owner of Global Aware Kids Care.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Alberta phased relaunch strategy will see some restrictions eased Friday

Daycares can open in Phase 1 of the provincial relaunch plan as early as May 14, with limits on occupancy. It’s good news for families that have been struggling to manage work with the needs of child care. However, the details of how this will all work are unclear.

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Global News reached out to the government for further information on the current plan in place. In a statement, Lauren Armstrong, the senior press secretary for the office of the minister of Children’s Services, said “safely relaunching the province is incredibly complex.

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“The relaunch strategy provides a high-level overview for Alberta,” the statement said. “Alberta Health and Children’s Services are working quickly to develop guidance for child-care operators as they look to reopen.

“We will work with operators and businesses to provide additional information on these and other questions in the coming days, and they can also reach out with questions to bizconnect@gov.ab.ca.”

Amid the current lack of direction from government, Bonkowski is taking a proactive approach.

“We’ve been thinking about how do we pick and choose, and first and foremost, we want to honour essential services workers and we have many of those at our centre who haven’t had that opportunity to place their children in an environment familiar to them, so they are top on the list,” Bonkowski said.

While she looks forward to welcoming children and staff back to the centre, not all are ready for change.

Summer camps will also be allowed to open, but Shilo Youth Ranch is sticking with its current plan.

“With the recent announcement coming yesterday and no real timeline or timetable for when that could open up, our plan is to still [to] continue doing online,” said Keith Johnston, executive director with Shilo Youth Ranch.

He said this option still gives youth a personal approach without having to risk gathering in groups.

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