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Alberta releases new guidelines for preschools and daycares as Stage 3 reopening looms


The provincial government released new guidelines Friday to help preschool, daycare, and out-of-school care operators plan for Stage 3.

Stage 3 begins on Canada Day in Alberta and marks the first day nearly all public health restrictions will be lifted, including the provincial mask mandate and full capacity at restaurants, bars, and retail outlets.

Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will still have to quarantine.

Most restrictions on child care operations will be removed including mask use by staff and strict cohort size limits.

Child care providers will no longer have to ask parents to check children’s temperatures before coming to the program centre or do it themselves.

“Children 0-11 years of age are not currently eligible for immunization against COVID-19 and remain the only age cohort in Alberta that is unprotected,” the guidelines read.

“To support ongoing safe operations, operators should follow this guidance.”

The updated guidelines encourages child care centres to continue practicing physical distancing, avoid physical greetings like hugs or handshakes, and maintain rooms to avoid congestion or clustering of people.

Masks are only required to be worn by children should they develop symptoms of COVID-19 or if they are in Grades 4 or higher.

Additionally, the use of masks by program staff while in child care facilities is no longer encouraged by the province. Instead, the new guidelines say individual staff can consider whether to wear one or not “based on a staff member’s personal assessment of their risk of contracting COVID-19.”

While child care providers are still encouraged to keep program groups small and separated from each other to minimize opportunities for COVID-19 spread, the requirement for cohorts of only 30 people has been rescinded.

The new guidelines permit audiences of parents and family members at performances or celebrations at child care facilities while respecting performing arts guidelines that specify the need for distancing.

Shared spaces and equipment, like play structures or sports equipment, is permitted to be shared by more than one group so long as proper sanitizing occurs. Previously, equipment was limited to one group and shared spaces or structures that could not be disinfected were not to be used.

Parents will still be required to fill out a copy of the Child Alberta Health Daily Checklist to help screen for symptoms of COVID-19.

If there is a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19, an Alberta Health Services contact tracing investigation will occur and a temporary closure of the facility may be required.

Contact tracers will ensure all close contacts are symptom free, however, fully-vaccinated staff or parents will not be required to quarantine so long as they do not present symptoms. Top Stories

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