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Dorval Preschool Co-op on brink of closing due to pandemic

Click to play video: 'Dorval Preschool Co-op edging towards closure due to pandemic' Dorval Preschool Co-op edging towards closure due to pandemic
The Dorval Preschool Co-op is on the verge of closing its doors due to pandemic-related financial struggles. Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines reports. – Oct 1, 2020

The Dorval Preschool Co-op is on the verge of closing its doors as it struggles financially during the pandemic.

Officials from the parent-run, non-profit school say low enrollment caused by the current COVID-19 situation has left them with barely enough funds to operate.

Preschool co-chair and parent Nicole Sayer says enrollment fees would support the preschool but with numbers at an all-time low, she says they face closing their doors.

Currently, only four children are enrolled in the school, which usually sees 20 or more students.

The school blames the pandemic for the empty classroom.

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Many parents are apprehensive about sending their children to school, according to school board member and parent Andreanne Bertrand.

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She says that with many parents staying home, their services are not needed as much.

Sayer says yearly fundraising events bring in much needed support, with more than $3,000 raised last year.

This year, she worries that won’t be possible with COVID-19 restrictions at the highest level.

The preschool has launched on online Go-Fund Me Page.

Currently, the page has amassed more than $3,000 through donations, but Sayer says the co-op would need at least $15,000 to stay afloat for this year.

The co-op suspects the school can continue operating until Christmas with the recent injection of funds from donations.

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The non-profit currently runs four days a week out of the Sarto-Desnoyers Community Centre in Dorval.

The city says it was only notified of the situation after Global’s reporting.

“The city already helps us out a lot,” teacher Lori Flavelle said.

The communal space used by the preschool is rent-free and much of the administrative duties are also at no cost to the school.

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“We understand that the current COVID-19 context is not easy for everyone,” said city spokesperson Sébastien Gauthier.

“Hopefully, we’ll be able to help find solutions to the group’s difficult situation.”

As a parent, Robert Gouldson says the situation is worrisome.

“Preschool has been open for decades. It doesn’t take much to keep this place going,” Gouldson said.

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