Coronavirus: Some Edmonton out-of-school child care programs still closed amid provincial relaunch

It’s the first week some families have finally been able to take their kids back to daycare as part of Phase 1 of Alberta’s relaunch strategy.

“It was really exciting to be able to see these families that we know and care about and to welcome them back. It was also stressful, it was hard for the kids,” Allyson Bonkowski, owner of Global Aware Kids Care explained.

While there is excitement, its been a much different process than before.

“Right at the very beginning, a lot of our operators were experiencing low enrollment and that can be for a number of reasons — from families that aren’t ready to go back to work to families that can’t go back due to unemployment,” Cynthia Nerling with Alberta Association of Child Care Operators said.

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

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But many parents, whose daycares are inside schools, are still waiting as those haven’t been able to open.

“Each school board is being given the choice as to whether they are going to allow childcare programs to come back and operate, so each board can make that decision on their own,” Staci Wilson, chair of School Age Care Directors Association said.

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In a statement the Edmonton Catholic School Division said it’s communicating with daycare providers to determine their relaunch strategy and whether it can safely be implemented in schools.

“We are collaborating with our daycare providers that have expressed interest in opening for Phase 1 to get them back in operation as early as June 1,” the board said.

Edmonton Public did not provide a timeline, but said the division is working with all of its tenants to determine how it can safely reopen daycares that are in the schools.

The Office of the Minister of Children’s Services said that daycares in schools, churches or community centres can open in Phase 1, as long as they have permission as well as separate entrances, exits and washrooms that those working in and attending the daycare can use.

“There is no cap on the total number of people in a facility. However, centres must operate in cohorts of 10 (children and staff), and cohorts are to be separated from one another to limit spread,” the department said.

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Guidelines for daycares and out-of-school child care centres can be found online.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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