Parents frustrated with kids being sent home because of child care COVID-19 protocols
Parents and child care operators feel exhausted by COVID-19 screening measures that send some kids home multiple times a month.
"It's been really important that we catch cases early," says Kim Yeaman, Children's Services Director at Simcoe Child Care Services in Innisfil. "But it's been a lot of stress for a lot of people."
Children exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, including a cough, fever, nausea, or vomiting, are required to isolate and be tested.
If kids develop symptoms at their child care centre, their parent or guardian gets a call.
Cheryl Peyton, owner of Barrie's Little Start Child Care Centre, says the process is frustrating, with staff recognizing the symptoms could be the result of a slew of other common childhood ailments.
"The last thing we want to do is send children home, but if they show symptoms, we are bound by the regulations set up by the Ministry of Education and the health unit," Peyton says.
Push back from moms and dads has been strong, with some choosing to pull their kids out of child care entirely rather than deal with the uncertainty.
"(It's) making parents take a lot of time off work; retest their children over and over and over again for things that in past times that would have just been a regular cold," says Yeaman.
Amanda Viau's three-year-old daughter has been swabbed for COVID-19 seven times during the pandemic. The tests were triggered by a runny nose, a cough, and diarrhea. Each test came back negative.
"I don't blame it on our daycare at all. We love our daycare. They're just following the rules; I get it. But I feel like there has to be another solution," Viau says.
Peyton believes rapid tests could help alleviate some of the tension around screening.
"It would be amazing to be able to offer parents the option to do rapid tests either at home or at the centre," Peyton says.
The province of Quebec will distribute rapid tests to parents of children in daycare showing symptoms of COVID-19 starting Monday.
Ontario has made rapid tests available to public health units for use in schools and child care at the discretion of medical officers of health. But Queen's Park stresses the tests shouldn't be used for symptomatic kids.
The Ministry of Education is sending school-aged children home with five rapid tests to prevent infected kids from returning to class after the winter break.
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