Coronavirus: Childcare options for essential workers in Saskatchewan

Childcare centres are being prepared to help emergency and coronavirus pandemic response workers.

The government of Saskatchewan is working to re-purpose childcare facilities in schools to provide 2,300 spaces across the province, beginning on Monday, March 23.

Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant said the government has been working with childcare providers in schools to provide this essential service.

“We know the impact this change has on families during these times,” he said.

“We are looking for everyone to contribute to the support for the broad community response to the COVID-19 virus.”

Wyant said priority for these spaces will be given to staff in health care and other pandemic response workers for infant, toddler, preschool and school-aged children to provide support to those responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We continue to take the advice of the Chief Medical Officer with respect to childcare centres. We know they are still a requirement for childcare,” he said.

Wyant went on to explain the province will provide 50 per cent of the operating costs of the centres from the provincial Early Childhood grant funding, with the remainder being paid by the parent.

“We’re committed to minimizing the financial impact on those centres,” he said. “We also will support them with additional supplies of sanitation and cleanliness that might be needed.”

The list of emergency and pandemic response workers eligible for childcare spaces includes:

  • Employees directly related to providing essential services in health care, including employees working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, community and primary health, home care, personal care homes, labs, pharmacies, COVID-19 assessment and testing sites, scheduling departments and payroll departments, including nurses, physicians and physician clinic staff, emergency medical services staff, and other staff essential to the operations of these facilities/departments.
  • Employees working directly in child protection, income assistance and community living connected to the Ministry of Social Services.
  • Employees working directly in residential services connected to the Ministry of Social Services.
  • Child-care centre employees of licensed childcare facilities.
  • Employees directly related to providing essential services in SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel, water and wastewater management.
  • Employees directly related to providing essential services for police and fire.

Employers are being notified by the government of Saskatchewan Friday to provide information to those workers responding to the pandemic.

Childcare centres that are not located in schools are able to continue operation at this time.

More information is available on the province’s coronavirus website.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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