Parent expresses concern as Ford green-lights reopening of childcare centres

Published On June 9, 2020 | By Rachael Dyal | COVID-19, News
Children using hoops to social distance at a French bilingual school, L’Ecole des Petits, on June 9, amid COVID-19 lockdown in London, U.K. (REUTERS/Kevin Coombs)
Rachael Dyal

Premier Doug Ford announced today all childcare centres in Ontario will be allowed to reopen starting June 12, though some parents are wondering if the move is premature.

Ford said the reopening of the facilities is an essential step as Ontario prepares to enter stage two of its reopening plan, which will see many parents heading back to work.

“As a father, I know there’s nothing more important than the safety of our children,” Ford said during his daily press briefing. “Parents returning to work need to know that someone they trust will be there to care for their child in a safe and healthy environment.”

The premier said restrictions will be in place to ensure the safety of children in the care of these facilities.

Precautionary measures include limiting the number of children and staff in a “defined space” to 10 people, removing toys and screening children and staff for coronavirus symptoms upon entry, said Minister of Education Stephen Lecce.

Cleaning procedures will also be ramped up and visitors will not be permitted, Lecce said.

In addition, childcare centres that reopen will need to have an emergency COVID-19 response plan in place, Lecce said.

Ford said these measures are already in place at emergency childcare centres across Ontario open during the pandemic.

“Childcare centres will be able to reopen once they meet these guidelines,” Ford said.

Lecce, who also spoke at today’s press conference, said the decision to reopen childcare centres across the province was reviewed by medical experts.

However, some parents are not convinced it’s a good idea to be reopening childcare centres during a pandemic.

Randy Rambally, an essential worker at Markham Mazda and the father of a seven-month-old daughter, said it’s too soon to be reopening child care centres.

“I’m torn, to be honest,” he said. “It’s scary to think that viruses of any kind spread the fastest through kids because it’s hard to micromanage children, their exposure [to viruses] and their ability to keep proper hygiene.”

Rambally said he empathizes with parents who must make use of childcare centres so they can go back to work, but calls the move to reopen the facilities “pretty scary.”

“I still think we’re a little bit premature right now just because of the risk of a potential second wave as well,” he said.

Rambally said there are safety measures he’d like to see implemented at childcare centres before he feels comfortable leaving his daughter at one.

These include the proper training of staff in areas of safety and hygiene and limiting the number of objects that each child is allowed to bring into the space.

“I’d at least want to see the least amount of things coming from home to the daycare centre, such as kids bringing their personal toys and extra book bags,” Rambally said.

“If it’s not a necessity don’t bring it to a daycare,” he said.

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