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Ontario's licensed daycare centres open at full capacity

Last Updated Sep 1, 2020 at 7:32 am EST

Children's backpacks and shoes are seen at a daycare. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Licensed daycare centres in Ontario can open at full capacity as of Tuesday, expanding after-school care but also increasing concerns about the risks of COVID-19.

This comes ahead of the gradual reopening of schools across the province, which begins as early as next week for some.

The provincial government announced the decision back in July when it began the gradual reopening of childcare centres for essential workers and working parents. Education Minister Stephen Lecce said the decision had been made in consultation with the province’s chief medical officer of health and the COVID-19 Command Table.

“Our government is gradually and safely supporting child care expansion to ensure moms and dads across the province can return to work with confidence,” Lecce said at the time.

“We will continue to ensure strict health and safety protocols remain in place, to keep our youngest learners safe.”

There are approximately 5,500 daycares across Ontario.

Enhanced health and safety procedures will remain in place, including mandatory masks, frequent cleaning of the facilities, and emphases on proper had cleaning and hygiene practices.

But this isn’t stopping the concern over the spread of COVID-19, especially when it comes to a possible resurgence of the virus in fall and winter. On Monday, Toronto Public Health said plans are taking shape to double down on contact tracing and other measures to quell a possible second wave.