Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Alberta daycares preparing to open as early as Thursday will be limited to 10 people per room and must implement increased cleaning and daily health screening to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The province has distributed guidelines to child-care providers ahead of the first phase of its relaunch plan, which will also include the reopening of retail stores, restaurants and other businesses. Cabinet will decide in the coming days whether the province is prepared to stick to its May 14 date after considering the number of COVID-19 cases, as well as the availability of testing and other public-health measures.

Daycare operators had warned they may not be ready to open this week, especially as they waited for the province to tell them what rules they would need to follow.

Story continues below advertisement

Daycares were closed in mid-March, although a limited number of operators have been open for weeks to care for the children of health care staff and other essential workers. Small private home daycares have also been permitted to operate through the lockdown, and health officials have noted there have been no COVID-19 cases in home daycares or in the centres kept open for essential workers.

The new guidelines set a maximum of 10 people, including children and staff, for each room. Centres with multiple rooms can have as many as 30 in their program, as long as they are separated into groups of 10 in different rooms and don’t congregate.

Daycares will only be permitted to open if there are no reported outbreaks at their centres or within the larger community, although that is not defined in the guidelines. Any daycare connected to a case of COVID-19 will be required to close for at least 72 hours to allow for contact tracing.

Children, parents and staff must not enter a daycare facility if they have any symptoms and parents must take their childrens’ temperatures each morning before bringing them in. The province has provided a standard questionnaire to conduct daily health screening.

Parents will be encouraged to provide their own snacks and meals, but daycare centres may provide food for children who show up with nothing to eat.

Masks are not mandatory for staff.

Anita Turna, chair of the Alberta Association of Child Care Operators, said the guidelines appear to be very similar to rules already in place for centres caring for the children of essential workers. She said some operators will likely take their time opening, waiting until after the May long weekend or until June 1.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’m treating May 14 as a starting point, not necessarily a deadline,” Ms. Turna said. “It is a quick turnaround, but I think it’s doable.”

The guidelines acknowledge that the limits on capacity may mean there will not be enough child-care spaces for everyone who needs them: “Not all families in this phase will be able to return to their former program and we should continue to encourage using centre-based child care if they have no other option.”

Eventually, the guidelines will be expanded to 75 per cent of a centre’s maximum capacity, with 20 people in a room for daycares and 30 a room for school-aged children in out-of-school care.

Ms. Turna said it’s not clear how much of an issue the limited capacity will be, because some families may decide to wait longer before putting their children back into daycare. The reduced capacity will also cut into revenues for operators, though she said programs such as the federal wage subsidy and recent child-care grants announced by the provincial government will help.

Anil Karim, executive director of Kids U, which operates eight daycare centres in Calgary and nearby Strathmore, said the guidelines appear sensible. Kids U has been able to open six of its facilities for essential workers and Mr. Karim said the company plans to open all of its centres as soon as it is permitted.

"As long as we’re comfortable and confident that we can keep things safe and secure, then that makes sense to us,” he said. “Is this the best scenario? No, but I’d rather be open than closed.”

Story continues below advertisement

The province’s Minister of Children’s Services Rebecca Schulz said child-care is a critical part of the province’s economic relaunch plan as workers return to their jobs. She said the guidelines have been drafted in consultation with Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, and the minister is confident it can be done safely, though she acknowledged not all providers will be open on the first day.

“There’s no obligation for centres to reopen and there’s no obligation for parents to send their children back, but we’re encouraging people to proceed safely and cautiously as we proceed from ‘stay home’ to ‘stay safe,’ " Ms. Schulz said in an interview before the new guidelines were released.

The Opposition NDP’s critic for children’s services, Rakhi Pancholi, said the government should have provided more notice to daycares and parents to prepare for the reopening.

“It’s very clear that the decision to launch Phase 1 and to give that deadline of May 14 basically two weeks from when the announcement came out was completely unrealistic,” she said. “And it was done without any clear planning.”

We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies