With news of two Regina childcare centres temporarily closing their doors due to a family member of a child at one of the centres being tested for COVID-19, NDP Leader Ryan Meili and Education and Childcare Critic Carla Beck called today for the closure of all childcare centres in the province, and for clarity and support for parents and operators. The closure of only those childcare centres attached to schools has caused confusion across the sector.
“Parents and childcare operators are worried about how best to protect kids and families who are accessing child care,” said Meili. “To slow the spread of COVID-19, we need to close all childcare centres, not just those attached to schools, and we need childcare solutions for essential workers that don’t involve grouping those workers’ kids together in significant numbers.”
Meili and Beck called on the province to provide the following:
- The immediate closure of all childcare centres, and provision of in-home or very-small-group care for the children of essential workers;
- Provincial grants to childcare centres to ensure that operators can cover expenses and continue to pay staff while closed, without charging parents fees;
- Assurance that no parent will lose their child’s space due to COVID-19; and
- A provincial wage top-up to childcare workers who are redeployed to care for the children of essential workers.
“Parents are left worrying they may lose their spot in their childcare centre if they are unable to pay fees today,” said Beck. “That creates more stress and anxiety for families. Meanwhile, childcare centres are being told they have to keep operating or they’ll lose their government funding.
“This all adds up to one big mess that endangers children, families and workers. We’re calling on the government to work closely with providers to ensure that childcare centres across the province are able to weather this storm.”