After being forced to close due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Ponoka Child Care Centre has reopened to essential service workers.
A little more than a month after shutting the doors, operator Shannon McArthur is excited to be back as of April 27.
“We were contacted by our licensing officer on the evening of April 21 and asked if we would be willing to reopen for essential service workers. We let her know the next day that we would reopen on April 27,” McArthur said in an email interview.
“We currently have six children enrolled and two employees along with myself. We are excited to have this number of children attending this early on.”
The centre is allowed up to 20 children, since restrictions mean only 10 people are allowed per room and 30 people in total on the premises. That means there are spaces available, although McArthur admits some families and staff are reluctant to return due to safety risks.
“We feel, at this point, that we will have enough spaces present and future for children requiring care. We had many loyal families and had built a wonderful community at our centre,” she said.
“Many of these families do not currently require care, but we hope to have everyone all together again soon.”
Regarding safety, McArthur explained the centre is adhering to all of the protocols put in place by Alberta Health Services. This includes occupancy levels, handwashing, disinfection of items, social distancing measures, no non-essential visitors as well as temperature and wellness checks for both the children and staff.
“We are grateful to be given this opportunity to, not only be back to work doing what we love, but also to be able to serve families of essential service workers in our community,” she said.
“We want people to feel confident that we have created a system and protocols that will keep both our staff and families safe and healthy.”