Parents and families are thinking about arrangements for daycare and the return to school, and operators across the province are worried about having enough spaces available.

In Kenora District, Kelly Williams at the Kenora Association for Community Living says they've been operating with Stage 3 of reopening, so they're offering spaces to the public, as well. 

"At KidZone, we're taking our time with that. We're going to have sort of a gentle re-entry back up to those numbers, so that children can get used to it, because there's more regulations, They have to wash their hands more often. We have to try and social distance them, and they have to stay in their own groupings," Williams said yesterday. 

Still, Williams said there will likely be hiccups and bumps in the road, as families and children get used to back-to-work routines this fall, especially if there are changes to the usual back-to-school process. Since children haven't been together for quite a while, it will likely take some time for them to get used to each other's germs, Williams said. 

"The screening's going to happen for quite a long time, and I think that we're going to be extremely cautious in sending them home, when they have any symptoms," she added.

Andrea Hannen is the executive director for the Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario, and she said yesterday the inconsistent funding for licensed childcare centres means facilities in some Ontario municipalities may not be able to reopen, or expand capacity, even as the province allows them to accept more children. Ontario is the only province that administers funding for child care through municipalities, and discrepancies at the local level are causing delays in daycare reopening in some areas.

“What we have are hundreds of women-owned small businesses and stand-alone not-for-profits that have had no source of revenue for over three months,” said Hannen in a prepared statement.

“The provincial government promised them 'sustainability funding' to get them through the closure period, and then made promises about additional funding to help them cope with the costs of reopening. So far, most licensees haven’t received a dime of this money, and they haven’t even been told when it might arrive or how much they might receive,” Hannen continued.

For more information:

Province of Ontario - Reopening child care settings

Association of Day Care Operators of Ontario - Independent licensed child care centres preparing to meet community needs