Please see the government of Alberta website to complete a Covid-19 Self-assessment and to check signs and symptoms.
Note: Symptoms are very vague so play it safe, especially if you or anyone in your home has a history of respiratory illness or disease or is immuno-compromised in any way.
2020, July 31
As of today, we have been open for 1.5 months. Our licensing officer and public health inspector have signed off on our implemented strategies and, while the work is redundant, we have kept all illness to a minimum and COVID-19 completely out of our facility. We really appreciate all of our families' patience and attention to detail as we plug away with the daily screening forms and enhanced hand hygiene practices.
Wheatland and Starland Counties are currently within a watch zone with no additional measures which means that we must stay vigilant with our practices and limit our time spent in other communities to prevent the spread from coming to us. Remember to continue with socially responsible practices like masking in public spaces and hand hygiene (Tip: keep extra masks , alcohol swabs, and a bottle of sanitizer in your vehicles).
Being in Stage 2 of the relaunch, our facility has relaxed our use of masks within our cohorts of 30 persons or less. We continue to utilize masks when we have company (such as parent tours and job interviews).
We have also relaxed our daily temperature taking to an 'as needed' basis.
Miss Erin will be resigning her position with Alberta Health Services as of August 15th. This decision was not made lightly and will only benefit both her mental well-being and ability to keep up with the daycare's administrative duties.
As we move in to the new school year with some anxiety and trepidation, we have made some adjustments and are pleased to announce that our Playschool Fall Term is now open for registration! Miss Jenna has agreed to stay on with us and we are excited to offer a nature and play-based program to cater to families with diverse needs/values within our community.
Overall, we are excited to continue serving our community and are looking forward to this new chapter!
2020, May 12
Hello to all our dedicated and beautiful families!
We have been told that we can re-open this week. However, being the cautious sort (especially when it comes to our community’s children), I am inclined to hold off for at least a couple more weeks. I have a June 15th start date in mind and would like to know what you think.
First, though, a couple things to address before you decide:
It has been brought to my attention that my work at the Drumheller hospital is a concern, and understandably so. I will be taking precautions such as limiting my time in direct contact with the children, wearing a mask when I am at the daycare, and I will not be going to the daycare on days I have been at the hospital. Also, I always change my clothes when I get to the hospital and before I leave.
It has also been mentioned that because of my time away from the daycare, or not in direct contact with the children and staff, there are concerns about consistency amongst staff without my direct supervision as much as in previous years. Honestly, I am very confident putting the day to day in the hands of Josie and Tabby when I cannot be there in person. Also, my hope is that I can focus more on staff training and consistency since I am not with the kids as much and I only work max 2 weekdays/week at the hospital.
Per the Ministry of Health, we can still provide meals and snacks, however, it is recommended by Alberta Health that parents provide all food. I am perfectly comfortable providing meals and snacks in an adapted fashion, but I will leave it up to the majority (I.e. adults can serve individual plates in the kitchen and take them to the table so only one person is handling food before the child receives it).
Everyone who paid full for March will be pro-rated for the half month or individual days they paid for but did not use. Basically if you paid full fees for March and we open June 15th, June will be free, then back to regular fees July 1st.
The majority of daily updates and communication will be on Storypark to minimize the amount of time spent in close proximity. As much as we all want to talk and catch up, we can’t and need to set a good example for the kids.
Upon arrival to the facility.Staff will check each child’s temperature Parents will complete a screening questionnaire (5 or 6 brief questions); Child will wash their hands before proceeding to play; Parents are encouraged to limit time talking at the front door, outside is preferred where physical distancing can occur without blocking the entrance
Before leaving the facility:Children will wash their hand Again, parents are encouraged to limit time talking at the front door, outside is preferred where physical distancing can occur without blocking the entrance (you know who you are 😉).
So to recap: I need to know if/when you want to come back (if it’s sooner than my proposed date, please let me know as if there is enough interest, I will for sure consider it!), and what your thoughts/concerns are regarding the new screening/pick-up/drop-off/food policies. If there is anything else you can think of, or any questions, PLEASE send them to me so I can brainstorm some solutions or ideas. Some of these guidelines may change per the Minister of Child Services as new information comes to light, but I will let everyone know as we go! Please note that the occupancy of our building will not change and our numbers are good to go as they were before (yay).
Miss you all!
L. Erin Jensen, Owner/Operator, CDS
Country Kids Child Care
2020, April 14
Miss Erin's Letter to Olds/Didsbury/Three Hills MLA Nathan Cooper
First, I hope you are well and getting some rest as I am sure you have been keeping busy over the last few weeks.
I waited to write to you simply to see what the government would figure out regarding funding for small businesses and/or child care facilities provincially and federally. Unfortunately, to date, I have not seen any programs which apply to many facilities and, more importantly, people.
We were forced to close: our income stripped from us and families left shut out to figure it out on the fly. I know that there have been many struggles over the last month, however, I am not alone in wondering why this focus on our most vulnerable population (our elders), does not extend to children? I AM NOT undermining the decision to close large facilities, and I am not trying to throw shade on the plight of our seniors. I AM wanting answers and money to ensure our children have a place to go when parents start going back to work and making sure that even if my business does not survive, that others do. We need to be thinking about children who are now in homes that are lacking in love, compassion or, realistically, basic needs. Even in my relatively small facility, I have had children who needed us to ensure they had everything from food to hugs.
Now, as a business owner forced to close, I am NOT eligible for the wage subsidy (as there are no staff to pay) and I am not eligible for CERB because I work 12 hours/ week with Alberta Health Services. My miniscule income of $2400/month (NET for both jobs combined) was cut in half. Just to put this into perspective, I made at the daycare for 100 hours biweekly, what I made at the hospital for 24 hours biweekly. I did both to ensure that my family’s had somewhere to depend on for early childhood education and supports.
I care for seniors and the acutely ill at Drumheller Hospital and now I need help to make sure the children are also being thought of.
L. Erin Jensen, Owner/Operator, CDS
Country Kids Child Care
818 The Broadway, Standard, AB
CELL (403) 901-5885
2020, March 19
This morning at ten o’clock, I, Miss Erin, joined a telephone town hall meeting with Minister Shulz of Child Services. There were a few new pieces of information and many, many questions answered over the hour and a half until they had to cut off the phone lines and return to working on solutions for us.
They are using algorithms to select specific centres to re-open for essential workers only. There will be more information coming in the next two to three days directly to those centres who are chosen in both urban and rural centres.
I had the opportunity to ask her directly “When we are talking about reopening select centres, given the nature of their work as it’s calving season and we are on the verge of seeding, Are farmers and ranchers and families who work in agriculture considered as essential workers? This question also applies to grocery store employees and truckers.” She laughed and said that she was just saying this to her colleagues, but unfortunately, it is not the ministry deciding what an essential service is; They are taking their cues from other provinces, but she is advocating for these communities.
Minister Schulz also mentioned a child care link coming to the Alberta* website to ensure that this will be a central space for Albertans to receive as much information as possible. There is also a Canada** website we can access for information on EI funding and other supports amidst these uncertain times.
As far as fee refunds or credits applied to future care, we are still unsure. We need to assess the funds we receive and what we can spend them on to ensure there is a center to open when the time comes.
Officially, In-home care is temporarily suspended as some of us and some children are in self-isolation. We are confident that our cases are not related to this pandemic, but in the interest of safety, we will not be taking kids (as much as we miss them and want to help). At the end of next week (2020, March 27), we will reassess this situation. In the unlikely event that we are chosen to re-open for essential workers, there are select staff who are able to return to work to care for the children.
Should you seek out staff to care for your child during the next week and a half, it will be a personal arrangement and decided at your own risk. Also, the caregivers will not be compensated for work during this time as a CKCC employee. Honestly, this breaks my heart, but as there are confirmed cases getting closer and closer to home, I have to be vigilant.
Regardless of the time-frame, we will be scheduling a cleaning day where all staff and willing volunteers will return to the facility to deep clean walls, toys, floors, carpets, and equipment to ensure we are starting fresh.
When we know more, we guarantee to ensure that you know more.
We sincerely appreciate everybody’s understanding and patience in this matter and encourage you to send any questions to Countrykidsccs@hotmail.com so I can address them directly as well as in future statements for other families and community stakeholders.
Miss Erin and the CKCC team
2020, March 15
To all our children, parents, and community stakeholders,
We, at CKCC, are dedicated to you and your children. In a statement at 1630 this afternoon, the Government of Alberta has made the decision to close all school and licensed child care facilities, excluding licensed day homes as these are smaller groups.
CKCC will be closed as of Monday, March 16th in accordance with this statement and will be looking into what this means for refunds of your paid fees for the month of March.
We do not yet have a timeline, nor do we have details so we ask that you all bear with us and we will give updates as we get them.
Some of the staff will be taking children in their homes, please text Miss Erin at (403) 901-5885 if you need child care. If you have paid your fees, there will be no charge and all caregivers will be compensated by the business.
Please take care and remember, as always, to play!
The Country Kids Team