While child care centres are officerly able to reopen Friday, it appears most operators will have to go through and extensive preparation process first. The City of Hamilton, in consultation with Hamilton Public Health Services, is developing a framework for a gradual and safe reopening of licensed child care centres in the city.
As noted in this week’s provincial announcement, all centres will be required to follow strict health protocols and meet additional requirements to safely reopen. The new protocols include enhanced cleaning, mandatory screening of staff and children, limitations on visitors, and ensuring an updated COVID-19 response plan is in place. Additionally, restrictions on the size of groups will be limited to 10 individuals per room, including both staff and children.
Based on the direction of the local Medical Officer of Health, all licensed child care centres in Hamilton will be required to complete and pass an in-person Public Health inspection prior to reopening. The province is in the process of developing a checklist which will assist operators with preparing for this inspection. This checklist will be shared with operators shortly.
All licensed child care centre staff will also be required to complete mandatory training prior to reopening. We are in the process of working closely with our local Public Health colleagues to develop a training plan which will be shared with you shortly. Lastly, we are working with ASCY to source PPE that will be required for reopening. The City can commit to providing PPE for the initial reopening of centres. More details on the process for distribution of PPE will be shared with operators shortly.
The full provincial guideline for reopening child care centers is here.
• There are 234 child care locations in Hamilton operated by 94 child care organizations.
• The City of Hamilton is one of 47 service system managers across the province designated under the Child Care and Early Years Act to manage child care services.
• The Ministry of Education is responsible for licensing and ensuring compliance of child care centres in Ontario.
• More than 14,000 child care spaces were available in Hamilton for children ages 0 to 12 years (as of March 17, 2020). As part of the reopening, the number of available spaces at each location will be greatly reduced in order to meet new provincial protocols.
• Emergency child care has been available to frontline essential workers through three licensed home child care agencies since late March, free of charge. It will wind down effective June 26 and families will be supported by the City to return to their previous arrangement, or find new space during the transition back to regular child care.