Questions remain about childcare access during remote learning in Winnipeg and Brandon

WINNIPEG — The province says children who are doing remote learning shouldn’t attend daycare, but some children – including those of essential workers – will still be allowed to go to class in-person.

The rules are leaving some childcare workers with more questions than answers.

On Tuesday afternoon, Rachel Doerr picked up her two kids from school – the last time for a while. Students in Winnipeg and Brandon are set to move to remote learning on Wednesday.

“I’m extremely blessed. My husband works for Transit so because he needs to work, I can be and am allowed to be at home for my children so that I can give them the best quality education since schools are closing down,” said Doerr.

Many parents are stuck trying to find childcare.

The province said the kids of essential workers can still go to class and daycare, but daycares say they’re having a tough time figuring out who’s actually allowed.

The Manitoba Child Care Association said it’s been instructed by the province to reach out to principals to determine which children are permitted to attend school.

The association said the plan is missing details.

“What are the impacts for childcare in terms of which children they should be taking? Which children are permitted to come to childcare? Will they be permitted to charge childcare fees still? So a number of questions,” said Jodie Kehl, the executive director of the Manitoba Child Care Association.

With questions remaining, the YMCA-YWCA said its care centres decided to send a survey home to see which children have essential workers for parents.

“Care will be provided to children of critical services workers, children with additional support needs and children who are deemed high risk,” a spokesperson for the YMCA-YWCA told CTV News in a statement.

“We confirmed the need for care and family eligibility through a survey sent to our families on May 10.”

The Manitoba Child Care Association said it has also asked the province for clarification on whether parents will still be charged childcare fees.

It wants to see the province provide some financial assistance for the childcare sector.

“That to me would be a perfect supportive solution so that both families are not having to pay for childcare services that they can’t access, but the facilities are also being financially supported during this time,” she said.

For parents like Doerr who aren’t worrying about where to send their kids come Wednesday, she said she’s sympathetic to other parents.

“I do really feel for moms and dad that aren’t able to be home for their kids,” Doerr said. “That’s got to be a real pinch right now and not a fun thing to be scrambling to be looking for childcare this week.”

CTV News reached out to the province for clarification, and was told more information would be released on Wednesday. 

-With files from CTV’s Renee Rodgers.

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