Coronavirus: Durham child care centres open to full capacity

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WATCH: Licensed child care centres across the province are now able to open up to full capacity. – Sep 4, 2020

As licensed child care centres across the province open up to full capacity amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, staff are taking extra precautions as they adapt to having more children in each room.

As kids naturally want to be close and play with one another, staff admit it will be a difficult task to keep them apart. However, Durham’s Children Services director Lisa McIntosh says she’s confident the new regulations in place will ensure children go home safely to their parents.

“[Staff] are working on room set-ups and environments that encourage physical distancing, but allowing children to actively engage in the learning activities that are happening,” McIntosh said.

Read more: Durham emergency child care centres offer relief during coronavirus pandemic

There are 161 child care centres across the region that are capable of returning to full capacity.

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According to provincial legislation, maximum enrollment depends on the square footage of the room and the age of the children.

In some instances, there can be up to 15 toddlers in a room, 10 infants to a room or up to 24 pre-schoolers in a space.

McIntosh says “although parents are not entering the facility at this time, there are virtual tours that have been set up and ready to go, and videos have been created to ensure that families are feeling comfortable.”

Read more: Ontario, federal governments give $234.6M in new funding for child care

In addition to ongoing communication with families, kids are practising frequent handwashing and staff are wearing necessary personal protective equipment.

The region says enrollment is expected to gradually increase within the upcoming weeks.

Ajax parent Amy Boissoin says having the opportunity to drop her two kids off to childcare renews a sense of normalcy.

“[My husband and I] both work from home right now, so child care is the only option,” Boissoin said.
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The family started sending their kids back to child care in July. They say they’re comfortable with centres taking in more kids because of the screening and precautions staff are taking.

Read more: After-school programs an ‘afterthought’ in COVID-19 guidelines, advocates say

“We’ve always been comfortable with coming here. We trust the educators and the staff,” Boissoin said.

“We feel good about this.”

Click to play video 'Coronavirus: The future of daycare and child care services' Coronavirus: The future of daycare and child care services
Coronavirus: The future of daycare and child care services – Jun 28, 2020