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Coronavirus: Quebec changes course, allowing usual counsellor-child ratio in day camps

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Quebec changes course, allowing usual counsellor-child ratio in day camps' Coronavirus: Quebec changes course, allowing usual counsellor-child ratio in day camps
WATCH: The Quebec government has reversed its decision requiring day camps to have more camp counsellors to help ensure physical distancing. That required ratios led many private and municipal day camps to choose not to open this summer. As Global's Amanda Jelowicki explains, even the improved numbers may not be enough – Jun 4, 2020

Quebec is turning back on its decision announced two weeks ago to decrease the number of children under the care of a counsellor in the province’s day camps and is now allowing the usual ratios as soon as camps reopen on June 22.

Public health said in a statement issued on Wednesday evening that it had changed course “given the evolution of knowledge relating to the transmission of the virus and the situation of the pandemic.”

The usual supervisory rations by the Association des camps du Québec are eight children between the ages of three and four per monitor and 10 children between the ages of five and six per monitor. A day camp monitor may look after 12 children between the ages of seven and eight and 15 kids from ages nine through 17.

READ MORE: Quebec announces funding for day camps while parents scramble for alternatives

Municipalities and organizations that organize day camps will still have to plan activities that respect physical-distancing measures and will have to take care to apply additional hygiene measures, according to Quebec’s health ministry.

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The Quebec government announced Tuesday it will give up to $11 million to help day camps comply with public health demands.

The “easing” of the ratios is a relief for the organizers, who feared a shortage of monitors this summer.

Click to play video: 'Coronavirus: Parents struggling to find summer childcare as many day camps plan to stay closed' Coronavirus: Parents struggling to find summer childcare as many day camps plan to stay closed
Coronavirus: Parents struggling to find summer childcare as many day camps plan to stay closed – Jun 2, 2020

The decision “will provide more latitude for municipalities and organizations responsible for holding day camps in their recruitment efforts,” the ministry said.

When the province announced day camps would reopen, Premier François Legault called on teenagers to apply. Legault said he feared competition from the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit, which paid them “to stay at home.”

— With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise

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