TORONTO – Ontario child care operators and staff are calling on the provincial government to take steps to make those institutions safer during the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure the sector’s long-term viability.

One immediate step encouraged by the dozens of operators, working groups and public health experts who signed an open letter to the Prime Minister is to be eligible for PCR testing again.

Late last year, in response to an increase in Omicron cases, the province restricted access to PCR tests to high-risk institutions, which do not include child care centers or schools, unless a student or staff member develops symptoms while in school is.

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The child care operators and staff say allowing access to PCR tests will mean that centers can detect cases and parents will only have to isolate one or two days at home with their child in the event of a negative result, in instead of five.

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They also say the province needs to provide enough HEPA filters for every classroom and common area in Ontario’s more than 5,000 child care programs _ institutions in which children are largely unmasked.

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The letter also calls on the government to increase financial support for licensed child care programs to ensure staff recruitment and retention, and to sign up to the federal government’s $ 10-a-day child care plan.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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