Since kids under the age of 12 are not currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, parents and daycare workers are concerned about their children’s safety. The fourth wave of the pandemic has caused 34 deaths and 1,682 new cases of COVID-19 in Alberta on Sept. 29 alone.
Based on the new restrictions released by the Government of Alberta, masks are mandatory only for students in Grade 4 and higher.
The program supervisor of Kidsland Daycare Centres Woodbine, Ruby Largo, believes that everyone should stay strong in order to keep children safe.
“I think it’s [a] new normal to me, we just have to be strong enough and have the presence of mind because we cannot stop,” Largo said.
Largo is thankful for parents and staff members being very cooperative in this situation.
“We have a daily checklist for parents, which includes a set of questions asking about COVID symptoms. If they answer yes to any one of the symptoms, they have to make sure to keep their kids home,” she said.
“I feel grateful for parents because I know how hard it is to trust us and send their kids to our daycare. We wash hands every single time before we interact with kids, sanitize all toys and furniture that we keep in each room, and make sure that all staffs wear masks when they are with kids,” she added.
Hyejin Kim, mother of two sons, decided to send her kids to daycare, despite the ongoing pandemic.
“I think parents should be more aware of their children. Last week, I didn’t send my child to daycare because he had a blocked nose. I didn’t want any other kids to have even just a polite symptom of cold,” Kim said.
She is also worried that her kids might miss out on opportunities to socialize.
“I do [worry] about going anywhere, including daycare. But I think it’s more important to meet people and socialize. So, we decided to send both of them to the daycare at the moment,” she said.
According to last week’s provincial data, Alberta children hit a seven-day average of 68 cases per 100,000. It was the highest record for those aged five to 11 years since the start of the pandemic.
Jillian McConnell has stopped sending her daughter to the daycare.
“This is ridiculous that the province is still not closing daycares. I understand that it’s not an easy decision to make, but I think children’s health should be considered as more important in this situation,” McConnell said.