Kingston, Ont., daycare prepares, adjusts to new rules amid coronavirus reopening

Daycare doors across Ontario can open Friday as part of the province’s second phase of reopening.

This week, the provincial government announced that all child-care centres will be allowed to reopen under strict guidelines.

Premier Doug Ford, along with ministers Stephen Lecce and Christine Elliott, said Tuesday that as businesses reopen, it’s vital to support families who are returning to work and need a safe environment for their children during the day.

“As Ontarians return to work and as we look ahead to Stage 2 of Ontario’s reopening plan, we know that providing child care for parents is critical to getting our economy back on track,” said Lecce.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario allows child-care centres to reopen Friday

A few of the restrictions include limits on the number of children and staff that can be in the same room. Visitors will not be allowed inside, while toys that could spread COVID-19 will be removed.

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They’re rules to which a Kingston daycare is adjusting ahead of reopening.

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“We no longer have dolls with clothes or hair, we just have dolls with painted-on hair,” said Betty Reid, supervisor at An Apple a Daycare.

READ MORE: Canada looking at expanded funding for child care in post COVID-19 recovery

Since the announcement on Tuesday, Reid’s staff has been busy sanitizing the classrooms, all of the furniture and the utensils the children and staff use.

One of the ways Reid says the daycare is trying to ensure safety for the children is by providing individual “creative trays” that include crayons, markers, scissors and other craft supplies, all of which will be sanitized multiple times per day.

“We’ll have five toddlers in a classroom, and we’ll have a classroom of five preschool children, and then another classroom of eight preschool children,” said Reid regarding the 10-person provincial limit in each room.

On Thursday, Global News spoke to several parents of young children, many of whom had mixed emotions about the reopening of daycares.

“I understand people need to get back to work, but it is a little scary,” said Phalon Reath.

“I’m definitely a little nervous about it. I’m concerned about my kids’ health, and I don’t think I’d send my kids to daycare if I didn’t have another option at this point,” said Ian Devenney.

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READ MORE: Ontario announces ‘cautious’ restart of allowing visitors into long-term care, retirement homes

According to the province, parents who do not feel comfortable putting their children back in daycare will not be penalized and will not lose their spot.

As for Reid, she says to ensure the safety of the children, the daycare has decided to postpone its opening to June 22nd.

“That just gives us that little bit of extra time to be sure that we are ready and focused and ready to go, and we’re excited, too, to have the children back,” said Reid with a smile.

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