Daycare centres have no choice but to close when co-located schools do
Last Friday, Waterloo Region’s public and Catholic school boards put a new procedure in effect for the first time – closing all their schools due to wind chill values at -35 or below.
Monday, some Upper Grand District School Board schools – those in Centre Wellington, Wellington North and Dufferin County – closed for the same reason.
In both cases, it wasn’t just school-age children who ended up with the day off.
“When the school closes, then we’re required to close as well,” Cyndy Jefferson, the general manager of childcare for the YMCAs of Cambridge and Kitchener-Waterloo, told CTV News.
Many of the local YMCA daycares share facilities with schools.
Other providers, like Owl Child Care, are in the same position.
Kristine Parsons, that group’s director of operations, says she’d have preferred to keep all Owl facilities in Waterloo Region open last Friday – but couldn’t, because even custodial employees had the day off.
“We can’t be here if there’s no one else here,” she said.
School boards adopting new rules for extreme cold weather have done so on the basis that some children face long walks to school that could result in frostbite.
Daycare operators say that’s not a concern for them, as children are typically driven to daycare.
“Our children come to us in their cars, with their parents,” Parsons said.
Both Parsons and Jefferson said they plan to look at pursuing the matter with local school boards.