Province Releases Plan for Reopening Schools and Child Care in September

July 30, 2020

The Province has announced that licensed child care centres, EarlyON Centres and before-and-after school programs will be permitted to operate at full capacity effective September 1, 2020, with elementary schools to reopen on a full-time basis and post-secondary education to resume using a cohorted model. Remote learning options will also be made available should parents decide not to send their children back to physical schools. All of these programs will be subject to increased public health and safety protocols.

Reopening Child Care and Early Years Programs

As of September 1, 2020:

  • licensed child care centres, including centres in First Nation communities, can operate at full capacity

  • before and after school programs for school aged children can operate with standard ratios and maximum group size requirements

  • EarlyON Child and Family Centres can reopen with in-person programming if participants preregister

  • First Nation Child and Family Centres on reserve can reopen with in-person programming if participants preregister

Before they reopen, all child care centres, before and after school programs, and EarlyON Child and Family Centres and First Nation Child and Family Programs must: meet all enhanced health and safety requirements; meet all operational requirements set out under the Child Care and Early Years Act 2014 (CCEYA) (for example, ensure that all existing staff to child ratios are maintained); and ensure staff are trained on the new measures and protocols.

Public Health and Safety Requirements

In alignment with the rules for teachers, child care staff must now wear medical grade masks and face shields, which the Province will provide. Children in grades 4 and up will be required to wear cloth masks, with “reasonable exceptions.” Younger children will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks.

The following enhanced health and safety procedures, put in place as part of the Province’s child care re-opening plan, will either remain in place or be increased:
  • Frequent cleaning of child care centres;

  • Screening of children and staff before entering a child care facility;

  • Maintaining attendance records for rigorous contact tracing and coordination with local public health authorities;

  • Ensuring frequent hand washing and proper hand hygiene for children and staff; and

  • Establishing clear and rigid case management protocols in the event a staff member or child becomes ill, or tests positive for COVID-19.

Notice Period for Parents and Families

Families whose children attended a licensed child care centre immediately before the emergency was declared must be given at least 14 days notice to accept a placement available on or after September 1, 2020. 

This new requirement will be embedded in regulation to be filed shortly by the Province. The 14-day notice period may begin as soon as the regulation is filed for spots offered for September 1 or later. The Province will notify service system managers once this regulation has been filed. The current prohibitions remain in place for spots available until September 1.

Funding Support and More Details to Come from the Province

The Province will also provide additional funding, with support from the federal government through the Safe Restart Agreement, to help child care operators and EarlyON Child and Family Centres purchase cleaning supplies, PPE and support staffing needs related to new procedures.

Child care and early years providers and agencies will receive resources and training on operational, and health and safety requirements.

In the coming weeks, the Ministry of Education will work with service system managers, First Nations and child care operators to maximize capacity and access for families and will provide additional details with respect to operational guidance, additional funding parameters and additional direction on providing notice to parents for placements. 

The Province is currently developing and will provide more details on operational guidance on reopening in the following areas:

  • child care (with the current child care operational guidance (PDF) in place until September 1, 2020)

  • before and after school programs

  • EarlyON Child and Family Centres

  • child care and child and family programs in First Nation communities

More Information