PEI·Video

COVID-19 leaving French daycares scrambling for staff

COVID-19 is presenting challenges so dire for P.E.I.'s six French daycares that some are asking parents to volunteer to keep their children home if daycares don't have enough staff.

Parents asked to keep children home if necessary

How COVID-19 is taking a toll on French daycares on P.E.I.

10 months ago
Duration 6:40
Katera Arsenault speaks with CBC News: Compass host Steve Bruce about the struggles for parents and staff.

COVID-19 is presenting challenges so dire for P.E.I.'s six French daycares that some are asking parents to volunteer to keep their children home if daycares don't have enough staff.

Kathleen Couture, executive director of the Association of Francophone Early Childhood Education Centres of P.E.I., sent a note to parents saying that COVID-19 is affecting staff and families "in large numbers."

Because P.E.I.'s health measures no longer require the centres to close for a COVID-19 exposure, children still go to the daycares even when a staff member tests positive. The positive staff member, of course, would still have to isolate.

That skews the ratio of staff to children, said Katera Arsenault, director of Le Jardin des Étoiles, an early childhood education centre in Summerside.

"If I have a staff member who is out with COVID, in the past those children that she was also in contact with would stay home so that would help our ratios," she said.

If a parent voluntarily takes their children out of daycare because of a staffing shortage, they are not billed for the day, the letter said.

In the meantime, Arsenault said the centres continue to look for more staff to hire full-time and part-time.

With files from CBC News: Compass

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