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Child care centre in Olds reopens for kids of essential workers

Service only available for children of essential workers
MVT Olds Boys and Girls Club reopens
Early childhood educators at the Boys and Girls Club of Olds and Area Early Learning and Child Care Centre got back to work April 22 after getting the green light from the Children's Services department and started receiving children this week. Doug Collie/MVP Staff

OLDS — The Early Learning and Child Care Centre (ELCCC) in the Boys and Girls Club of Olds and Area building is back in business after being closed last month, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s among about 190 such facilities across the province allowed to open its doors again.

However, the facilities are only open for essential workers including firefighters and police, doctors, nurses and other health-care staff as well as retail staff deemed essential such as grocery store employees.

As of last week, the ELCCC was the only child care centre allowed to re-open in Olds.

There’s good reason for that, according to Lauren Armstrong of the Children’s Services ministry.

“Across the province, child care centres were selected based on proximity to health-care facilities,” she wrote in an email.

“In this case, the Early Learning and Child care Centre within the Boys and Girls Club is about 80 (metres) closer to the hospital.”

Armstrong said because the ELCCC agreed to reopen, discussions did not occur with other daycare facilities in the community.

The ELCCC got the green light to reopen in mid April.

The centre's first official day back in business was April 22 however, that was spent organizing the place.

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Staff didn’t receive any kids until this week because workers had found other places for their kids. As of late last week, nine children were booked for this week.

ELCCC executive director Letitia Gole said the province is only allowing them to house 30 people; 24 children and six staff. She said it could accommodate more than 150 people.

Gole said it feels good to have the centre re-opened.

“It’s definitely nice to be back and being able to see our kids and our families again,” she said.

“And of course, it feels really great to be able to give back to the people who are on the front lines right now during the pandemic. So it definitely is a good feeling to be able to open our doors to people who really need it right now.”

The Boys and Girls Club of Olds and Area moved into the building just over a year ago.