Winnipeg, Brandon child-care centres to get financial help as thousands of students shift to remote learning

Manitoba is committing up to $1.9 million to offset the financial blow to child-care facilities in Winnipeg and Brandon temporarily unable to accept school age children.

Kindergarten to Grade 12 students in the two cities moved to remote learning for three weeks beginning Wednesday and also aren’t allowed to attend daycare under the plan, made in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Read more: Manitoba to move all K-12 schools in Winnipeg, Brandon to remote learning Wednesday

“We know this proactive measure, at the direction of our public health officials, will help to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19,” said Families Minister Rochelle Squires.

“However, we also recognize it will have a significant impact on families and the early learning and child-care sector.”

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The money will offset child-care sector losses and cover school-aged parent fees for families, Squires said.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba announces public health measures for schools outside Winnipeg, Brandon' Manitoba announces public health measures for schools outside Winnipeg, Brandon

Manitoba announces public health measures for schools outside Winnipeg, Brandon

Over 10,000 child care spaces could be impacted by the switch to remote learning, the minister noted.

“I want to also assure parents of children in these spaces that they will not be expected to pay child-care fees, and they will retain their child-care spots during this period,” Squires said.

“My department will be reaching out to affected facilities in short order to share details on access to the new funding.”

Read more: Return to remote learning means scramble for some working Winnipeg parents

Child-care facilities can continue accepting kindergarten students of critical service workers, and those that are attending in-person learning, on days when they aren’t in school, the province noted Wednesday.

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That would include high-risk children and those with special needs.

However, kindergarten students that are remote learning cannot attend child care.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. In some provinces and municipalities across the country, masks or face coverings are now mandatory in indoor public spaces.

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