All Ontario daycares allowed to reopen Friday - with restrictions

daycare

All Ontario daycares will be allowed to reopen on Friday with restrictions, the same day most regions outside the GTA will enter Stage 2 of the province's economic reopening plan. 

Premier Doug Ford says regulations will be based on current daycare facilities for front-line families, which have been operating during the pandemic. 

"There will be limits on the amount of children in the centres at one time," Ford said. "There will be more screening and more cleaning and child care centres will be able to reopen once they meet these guidelines." 

Daycare staff are now able to reenter their facilities to prepare for reopening and will be able to at the end of the week provided they meet the following criteria:

- 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

Education Minister Stephen Lecce said parents that do not feel comfortable bringing their kids back will not lose their spot at their facility or be charged. 

While Ford said a facility would be shut down in case there was one positive case during this news conference Tuesday, the ministry later clarified that the cohort the case occurs in will have to be sent home. 

It would then be up to the region's chief medical officer of health to determine whether or not to shut down the whole facility for the two-week period. 

Despite the cap of 10 on the size of the cohorts, Lecce does not think there will be a problem when it comes to availability, even with front-line workers getting preference for spots once the emergency child care program ends on June 26. 

"The reality is not all parents will be putting their children back," he said. "We think we will be able to get the workers, parents back into the work force as soon as possible and there should be sufficient space for them." 

The premier also announced that summer day camp programs across the province to reopen this summer, but overnight camping will still be restricted. 

Daycare operator and Director of Childcare Services in Simcoe, Kim Yeaman, slammed the rollout, telling NEWSTALK1010's The Rush it was much too rushed for operators. 

"There was no planning, no planning to this for child cares at all to be able to be prepared," she said. 

Yeaman said staff have many concerns over PPE, contact with children and at her centre, she's still waiting for sustainability funding for the last three months. 

"Without a week or two at least lead-in with the regulations and to have things approved and to get all the details, train the staff, get the parents informed, who is getting in, who is not getting in at this point, we need some time," she said. "I can't see anybody opening by Friday." 

For a full list of guidance for daycares, click here.

For a full list of guidance for day camps, click here.

Ontario reported 230 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and 14 more deaths.