Manitoba Daily

Friday, January 28, 2022

Mildly symptomatic child care workers can now work under new health guidelines

Mildly symptomatic child care workers are now allowed to work under new health guidelines.

Key takeaways:

  • The province’s new isolation guidelines, which were created in response to an increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant, have been criticised by the child care sector.

The child care sector is criticizing the province’s new isolation guidelines, which were created in response to a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.

On Friday, a memo with new guidelines regarding COVID-19 symptoms was sent to the early learning and child care sector.

The new rules allow employees who are experiencing symptoms to self-screen and return to work if they meet all of the following criteria:

One negative COVID test from a provincial testing site/health facility testing location is required, or two negative self-administered rapid COVID-19 tests taken 24 hours apart are also required.

Also read: The Pope prays for the end of the pandemic and for peace talks on Christmas Day

Staff must have mild and improving symptoms as outlined in the online screening tool and be fever-free for at least 24 hours without using any fever-reducing medication.

Morris Early Learning Centres’ executive director, Tara Mills, said the new rules conflict with their current sick policies.

“Don’t come to work if you’re sick. We’re also asking parents not to send their children if they’re sick, “Mills stated. “As a result, I may have sick employees who, in turn, make the children sick.”

On the same day as the new guidelines were released, the province reduced the length of isolation for people who test positive from ten to five days.

Mills is concerned about her center because it is a nursery and preschool.

“None of those children are vaccine eligible.” So no center wants to be the cause of a child being admitted to the hospital, ICU, or worse,” she explained.

ECE and childcare careers | Kids & Company Canada
Mildly symptomatic child care workers are now allowed to work under new health guidelines. Image from Kids and Company

The new guidelines were released on the same day that the province reduced the length of isolation for people who test positive from ten to five days.

Jodie Kehl, executive director of the Manitoba Child Care Association, understands how important it is for families to have access to childcare. Still, she also recognizes the importance of protecting Early Childhood Educators.

“We would be requesting that the province provide N-95 masks as well as an ample supply of rapid tests so that they can continue to provide that high-quality, licensed child care program,” Kehl stated.

The province stated in part in the memo outlining the new guidelines:

“If employees notice new or worsening symptoms, they must notify their boss right away and seek testing as directed. They must either follow Public Health’s instructions or self-isolate until they receive a negative test result and can self-certify that they are fit to return to work.”

Mills stated that each child care center has the authority to determine its health policies, and she is in discussions with board members to determine the best course of action.

“To make the best decision possible without causing too much harm, whether to families financially or physically to children and staff.”

Source: CTV News

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