Only some Ontario daycares moving into next phase; many northern sites facing delays
SUDBURY -- It's a step in the right direction -- Ontario daycares are moving into Phase 3 and are being allowed larger groups of 15 children.
It's a big jump from the 10 that were allowed in a single room with adult supervision. According to the latest orders from the government, adults are no longer being included in the size of the cohort.
Supervisors are also being encouraged to limit their movement between rooms and are being told to only do it when absolutely necessary.
But parents may have a tough time finding daycares in Greater Sudbury willing to move into that next phase.
Many owners/operators are facing challenges such as limited funding and a lack of space that will likely be keeping them in Phase 2 for some time.
'Our Children, Our Future' runs 10 sites in Espanola and Sudbury and opened its last three facilities last week.
"Ideally that sounds wonderful and I'm sure when our parents and families heard that, they were very excited," said Terry Deforge, director of programs. "Unfortunately what a lot of people don't know is that our spaces are limited due to social distancing.
"Most of the spaces that we have can currently accommodate a cohort of 10 total, but if you add five more children to that space, there's no way that they can comfortably socially distance and that's what keeps them safe."
Keeping students safe
Deforge said it's also about keeping students and staff safe and that means keeping their counts low as long as possible.
They do have the one program where they may be able to accommodate an additional child or two, he said, but it likely won't happen for another week.
He said they just opened the last of their three sites that had been closed and they want to make sure students are comfortable with all of the changes.
"We need to give them time to adapt," said Deforge. "This is a really, totally new world for them and we don't want to overwhelm them."
Gwen Simpson runs the Cedar Park daycare in New Sudbury and is contemplating taking on an additional student or two. She won't be going to 15, either.
"For my preschool group, I'll bring in another staff in to work with a few more children," Simpson said. "I will probably not go right to the 15 for my preschoolers but I'll start with three or four of my parents that are waiting for a spot."
Simpson said they're a smaller operation and there are some things that will have to be addressed.
Funding has been a problem for a lot of the facilities across the province, and advocates say it is keeping some sites closed.
Most are having to do more with a lot less of the funds coming in and that's made it tough for those who have had to make changes with no additional money.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Monday that 90 per cent of the childcare capacity in Ontario had been restored.