LICENSED childcare and preschool services will be able to reopen at 20 community centres across Vancouver starting September 1, Vancouver Park Board announced on Thursday.
The majority of childcare services that operate out of Vancouver Park Board community centres were closed in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the exception of Britannia, Creekside, Mount Pleasant, and Ray-Cam, which provided childcare to children of essential service workers.
Childcare services are offered through a valued partnership between the Vancouver Park Board, Community Centre Associations (CCAs) and third-party organizations. The Park Board provides space and janitorial services, while CCAs and third parties operate the services. Specified reopening dates for September will be determined by individual CCAs and third-party operators.
Each childcare site supports between 20 to 174 children, ages two-and-a-half to 12. CCA’s and third-party organizations will determine how their spaces will be filled and can give priority to children of essential service workers and vulnerable children and youth. Childcare and preschool licensees are required to use spaces in accordance to Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) licensing regulations. VCH licensing does not require childcare operators to reduce their capacity.
Physical distancing will be managed according to health guidance from the Ministry of Health and the Centre for Disease Control and will include a combination of markers, signage, and modified activities. Staggered pick up and drop off times will be encouraged to reduce the chance of overcrowding, along with physical distancing measures.
Licensed childcare provides opportunities for children to recreate and socialize with peers while developing various skills including communication, cooperative learning and leadership. Preschool provides essential early learning opportunities for children ages two-and-a-half to five years and assists in providing skills to become school-ready and in the development of core competencies.
Some childcare and preschool services may already be filled as parents and guardians registered their children at the start of the year. More details regarding registration will be posted at vancouver.ca/covid19 when finalized.
At this time, there is no timeline for the reopening of gyms, fitness centres, and programming at community centres.
The Vancouver Park Board said it is taking a thoughtful and phased reopening and recovery approach in alignment with BC’s Restart Plan, and in consultation with various government and non-government agencies and partners.
Since May, the Vancouver Park Board has reopened golf courses, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Bloedel Conservatory, tennis and pickleball courts, pitch & putts, skate parks, synthetic sports fields, basketball and volleyball courts, disc golf, roller hockey, multisport courts, playgrounds, spray parks, and outdoor pools.
The Park Board continues to review the feasibility of reopening other facilities and services and will make adjustments to its operations based on the latest information provided by VCH, the Provincial Health Officer, and industry partners.
For more information about the status of services and facilities impacted by COVID-19, visit: vancouver.ca/ParkBoardRestart.