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Child-care centres to remain open during provincial shutdown

For unregulated and unlicensed centres, the provincial expectation is to follow regulated ratios for school-aged children
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NEWS RELEASE
COVID-19/EDUCATION/EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT
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Nova Scotia's regulated child-care centres and licensed Family Home Child Care Agencies will remain open during the province-wide shutdown. This is necessary to support health-care and other pandemic workers who require child care in order to work.

Families who have the ability to keep their children home will help create spaces for the children of these workers. Parents will not be charged fees if they choose to keep their children at home and they will not lose their spot when their children return.
Government is committed to supporting the sector for costs incurred in keeping child-care centres open, staffed and ready to receive children of workers needing child care over the next two weeks. Subsidies will be available on a sliding scale for families with an income less than $70,000.

"Child care is an important support for Nova Scotians as we work together to once again battle COVID-19 across our province," said Derek Mombourquette, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development. "Health-care workers and others critical to helping us all through this wave need the support of the sector so we can all emerge stronger together."

Child-care centres are expected to follow all public health protocols for their sector. These protocols have been shared with the sector.

The province will continue to pay for personal protective equipment for early childhood educators. Emergency costs incurred by centres will be covered.

For unregulated or unlicensed child-care settings, such as neighbours who care for children, they can continue to follow regulated ratios for school-aged children - eight children or fewer per caregiver, including their own.

For younger age groups, the ratio is six children or fewer per caregiver, including their own. Masking is required; however, the public health order says children aged 2-4 can be exempted from wearing a mask if they cannot or will not wear a mask.

"It's important that our essential workers are supported as much as possible during this third wave," said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health. "We need them to help us get tested and administer vaccines, and keep essential services running such as grocery stores. Thanks to the incredibly valuable work of the child-care sector, essential workers can work on behalf of all of us to push back the virus. We are truly all in this together."

Quick facts:

  • There are 348 regulated child-care centres in the province
  • Regulated child-care centres are those licensed under the Early Learning and Child Care Act and Regulations; unlicensed child-care centres can operate as 'exempt' under the regulations as defined under 'exempted services'

Additional resources:
COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for Child Care Settings
Early Learning and Child Care Regulations

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