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NDP calls for additional support to child care centres

Children's backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. en thousand Quebec unionized home daycare workers began the first of a series of rotating strikes on Tuesday, after negotiations between their union and the province failed to produce a deal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — As all schools move to online learning for the next three weeks, the Opposition NDP is calling on the UCP government to provide more support for childcare workers to limit spread and outbreaks of COVID-19.

Child care centres have been put in a vulnerable position with limited resources according to some facilities dealing with outbreaks.

That is why NDP MLA Rakhi Pancholi says in order for the province to keep moving forward, support needs to be there for these centres.

“For so many families, not having access to child care will mean a parent won’t be able to go to work. That’s bad for families, it’s bad for businesses and it’s bad for the economy,” Pancholi said.

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Kari Morris, who is the director for The Meadows Early Learning and Child Care said they are being pushed to the limit.

“We’re essential workers putting all families first before our own and putting ourselves at risk daily. And the stress is beyond high,” Morris said.

While families try to navigate and organize for online learning, Pancholi says the government can re-direct supplies from schools to these centres.

“Re-deploy the rapid testing teams — currently in place for K-12 schools — to child care programs for at least the next three weeks. So, they can identify any positive cases quickly before any spread can happen,” she said as the government can’t make the same mistake with child care centres as they did with schools.

“Too many teachers and substitute teachers had to isolate, they didn’t have access to rapid tests soon enough, they didn’t have enough PPE,” Pancholi adds.

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Morris added these centres remain vital in making sure parents can go to work instead of staying home with their kids.

“Families rely on us and they need care for their children. As a centre in an outbreak I want to be clear, it’s not that the cases are being passed from children to children and staff-to-children and so forth. These are isolated, outside cases,” Morris added.

The NDP is calling for emergency funding for temporary staff, more PPE and HEPA filters for buildings and re-deploy rapid testing kits from schools to child care centres.