Municipality working to reopen child care centres as province continues to reopen economy
Tim Brody - Editor
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout is, “taking all reasonable and necessary steps to open our Children’s Centres as soon as possible,” according to Municipal CAO Michelle Larose.
On June 9, the Ontario government announced its plan to reopen child care centre across the province as Ontario moves into Stage 2 of the government’s reopening framework.
In a news release, the province announced that child care centres will be required to follow strict health protocols to ensure the safety of child care staff and children and adopt specific rules as they reopen, including:
• Cohorting ― putting children and staff in groups of 10 or less day over day;
• COVID-19 response plan ― all child care settings will be required to have a plan in place if a child, parent or staff member/provider is exposed to COVID-19;
• Screening ― all staff and children must be screened prior to entry to the child care setting. Anyone feeling unwell must stay home;
• Daily attendance records ― child care settings must keep daily records of all attendees in order to support contact tracing;
• Cleaning ― child care settings must be thoroughly cleaned before opening and frequently thereafter;
• No visitors ― only essential visitors are permitted entry into the child care setting;
• Implementing drop-off and pick-up protocols in a way that facilitates physical distancing.
“As we prepare to reopen more businesses and services, it is critical that we ensure supports are in place so people can return to work knowing their children will be cared for in a safe and healthy environment," said Premier Doug Ford. "Our child care plan sets out strict protocols that must be followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We have made great progress to contain the virus, but we must be mindful that there is still a public health risk.”
“The health and well-being of everyone residing in Sioux Lookout is of paramount importance to the Municipality,” noted Mayor Doug Lawrance.
The Municipality shared that its Children’s Centres (Biidaaban and Sioux Mountain) are. “Working with the Kenora District Services Board, the Northwestern Health Unit, and both School Boards (Keewatin Patricia and Northwest Catholic) to implement measures, practices, programs and policies to ensure our primary objective, the safety and wellness for children and staff, is achievable. The sourcing of Personal Protective Equipment and the establishment and approval (by the Health Unit) of specific policies will take some time, and we ask for understanding and patience as we work to implement these measures.”
“We understand that the provision of childcare is a critical step in assisting with the transition to the government’s “Stage Two” reopening of the Province and our economy,” commented CAO Larose said, concluding, “We will provide updates to the public as the opening date is determined.”