WCCS successfully reopens for essential workers on a gradual basis with reduced capacity for students this spring

After the COVID-19 crisis forced the WCCS to temporarily close, families have been gradually returning to the program for child-care

Enrolments at the Windermere Child Care Society (WCCS) have decreased by 88 per cent since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

On June 10, the WCSS reopened with enhanced safety precautions for attending families and WCCS staff have welcomed the opportunity to serve essential workers and parents who are returning to work.

“The attendance is way down, which is good,” said Pat Miller, manager. “We’re more or less just taking parents who are essential services where parents are going back to work.”

The total number of teachers has also decreased for the time being.

“We wanted to do this at a slow and easy pace,” Miller explained. “We didn’t want to rush it with a whole bunch of people… it’s a matter of when parents are ready to send their kids back.”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, enrollments accounted for 84 children attending the WCCS.

“Now, there’s about 10 kids,” Miller said. “We’ve opened it for anybody that really needed us. We took them all in and covered emergency workers through the Children Community Resources and Referrals (CCRR) out of Cranbrook who was helping essential workers place kids for families during the pandemic.”

While the challenges of asking young children to practice social and physical distancing remain, Miller and her team are working hard to incorporate safety precautions at every turn.

“We’ve only opened two rooms,” she explained. “One room is not available, and preschool doesn’t run through the summer.”

However, there are some minor tweaks geared toward improving the safety measures to adhere to provincial guidelines regarding group sizes and sanitization efforts.

There’s a one-time waiver for returning families to fill-out in light of the evolving pandemic.

Now, parents who typically drop-off their children are met at the gate by a teacher who will verbally ask questions daily to screen for COVID-19 symptoms, then they’re escorted into their classrooms by the teacher.

“We come through one side of our yard. We have a health check. We sanitize there and sign them in,” Miller explained. “We have our teachers come from their rooms to the fence to pick up the children and we’ve made smaller groups to practice social distancing and require regular handwashing and hand-sanitizing. Parents do not come through the gates. Just our children.”

In addition, the WCCS has decreased the number of chairs in each room and has created play stations to ensure children aren’t cross contaminating shared toys.

“Kids will be kids,” said Miller. “But they’re coming in and catching on to washing their hands when they come through the gates. With the toys, they’re learning to play with their own toys at their stations. It’s a big endeavour, but it’s working and they’re really enjoying it.”

But so far, the returning students are happy to be back at school, even if it’s only for a couple of days each week.

“They’ve all missed their friends and are all having a good ol’ time,” she said. “Attendance has been the biggest change for us but everyone has been quite accepting because of the number of things we’ve done to show safety for their kids.”


Just Posted

Invermere gets new CAO

Invermere found his new CAO after a long period of research.

Radium council discusses short term rentals

RHS council are elaborating the second draft plan for STR

Farmers’ Institute report highlights emerging local food scene

Beef cattle ranching remains mainstay of valley agriculture

Beautification process begins in Canal Flats downtown

Canal Flats wants to improve the esthetic of the town

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read