A Williams Lake child care provider is at a loss that daycares and early learning centers were not included in Tuesday’s announcement by the province that will see all K-12 schools suspended until further notice due to COVID-19.
Co-owner of Exploring the Puddle Early Learning Centre, Faren Lozier says they are looking after vulnerable children and need to look after their own staff as well.
With 72 families registered, she says they have about 40 children a day and that they also have a lot of parents coming in.
“The province should be looking at early childhood education to be just as important as our school system,” Lozier says .”They’re saying we need to look after our children and making sure that they’re staying home to stay safe but where does that put us? where do we fall into that category?”
Rather than waiting for the Province to possibly announce the closure of licensed daycares and early learning centers, Lozier says they took matters into their own hands and suspended operations as of 5 pm Tuesday until further notice.
“It was difficult,” Lozier says of the decision. “I know that there’s a lot of people that are still working in what they’re considering essential services and we want to be able to offer families as much support as we can. However we have some staff that have comprised immune systems, we have staff that are pregnant, and we have children that get sick very easily, and so we want to make sure that we’re doing our proactive attack on making sure that we’re not spreading any kind of illnesses around.”
Lozier says their eight current staff will be staying home to take care of themselves and their families, something that they’re hoping most people are choosing to do in a time like this.
“We’ve seen parents that are really supportive as much so as saying that they would even send letters to the province to try and get our staff coverage for EI because of course our staff can’t go on EI if we choose to electively close, and then we’ve also had parents that are really put out because obviously they don’t have that second choice for childcare and they’re still required to be going to work as well.”