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Montreal daycares and some schools reopen - without many kids, allowing a 'dry run'
MONTREAL -- The kids are back—at least some of them. As of today, daycares in the greater Montreal area are allowed to reopen, but at reduced capacity.
It’s a double-edged sword: having fewer children there will make it easier for staff to follow health protocols, but for many of the children coming back, the thing they missed most about daycare was their friends.
“The thing that worries me is that there’s not many kids that are coming back. And I think that kids do need to have social interaction with kids their own age,” said one mother, who gave her name as Sophie, after she dropped off her five-year-old daughter at Orchard Daycare in NDG.
A lot of the routines of daycare are now altered—staff’s masks mean that familiar faces are hidden, and new health protocols mean playtime happens differently.
But for some who work with kids, having only a few students at first is the most viable way to figure out the new rules.
A few select schools in Montreal also have the green light to reopen, like the Mackay Center, which serves kids with special needs. But only about a quarter of its 170 students returned to class on Monday.
"I sort of feel like we're going to benefit from having a bit of a dry run right now, with a few kids, to sort of see what's going to happen in September,” said vice-principal Greg Watson.
“That'll be the real struggle, and that's going to be a struggle, I think, for a lot of schools.”
One parent who did choose to send her child back to to school on Monday said she was relieved to have the option, and that even if school feels different, it’ll still bring back structure to the day and that alone can help kids thrive.
“My daughter suffered more, being at home, because she had no routine and it was a drastic change,” one mom told CTV News.
“So we were pretty much in and out of the hospital a lot during these past two months for her. It's been very hard, mentally, for her."
The English Montreal School Board may open more schools for students with special needs later this week, if they see enough interest from parents.