As most of you will have already heard, the Province announced yesterday that child care centres can open as early as this Friday, and summer day camps are being allowed to open as part of “Stage 2.” As an organization, we will be taking a measured approach to our re-opening in order to help keep the children, families and educators, that we value so much, as safe as possible.
Therefore, we are at minimum now cancelling Week One of Summer Camp; June 29 – July 3.
It is also our plan today to fully cancel All Current Summer Camp Registrations and Wait List to date with a plan to re-open a new registration as soon as we are ready with all permissions and a firm timeline in place.
Our opening is contingent upon additional factors, including facility access, requiring specific direction from Hamilton Public Health and the HWDSB. We have not yet received any information as to whether we will be allowed to operate in our schools as usual.
As an organization we have done scenario planning and are committed to a program opening that will ensure the safety and quality of programming to our best ability; but since we do not have a timeline, licensing go ahead, or procedural directions from authorities yet, we estimate that we will require 3 weeks to prepare our staff and site for operations once we receive those official guidelines / permissions.
We will announce our new plan, and invite prioritized families to re-register as soon as possible AFTER we are fully ready and authorized to proceed.
We know this is not ideal for some, but cancelling and starting a new registration process will assist us in polling family needs that may have changed. Our capacity and hours of operation will be reduced from our normal camp operations and that will also mean having to prioritize enrolment opportunities.
Due to capacity restrictions, our priority placement would be for those families with whom we provide Before & After School Care (and their siblings) along with any additional direction we receive from the Ministry in respect to priority placements. We will send out invitations to those families, with instructions to re-register their latest requirements, to a temporary Wait List, once we have all the required authorizations.
We understand that you may want us to understand your personal circumstances now, however that will be a part of the new registrsation form. Also, the speed with which our families re-register is the least important priority criteria so there will be no advantage to being first to re-register. It is also impossible at this moment to predict who would have priority for space and we ask that you remain patient as we navigate that difficult process.
We know that you have many questions and in the short time we have had, we are unable to provide a complete FAQ, but over the next few days we will send registration cancellation notifications to all our pre-registered summer camp families with an apology, and follow up with as much information as we can as days progress.
We do understand that this may be disappointing to you, our loyal and wonderful families, but we do feel that this approach (starting fresh) is in keeping with our straightforward need to be honest and up front with our families given all the uncertainty surrounding our summer program, and the fact that we will not be able to accommodate all of those who wish to attend.
We also want to give those families (who haven’t already made other plans) the opportunity to seek out alternative methods of summer care that may still be available to them through their own families and other means so that they can get started on that search now. This will help us serve as many families and children as possible who may be without any alternative care.
As always, the wellbeing of children is foremost in our minds, and when we open, we will be providing safe, caring, nurturing, joyful places. We will continue to follow enhanced health and safety protocols while providing welcoming environments where children’s laughter and learning are present throughout the day.
Thank you everyone for your continued support and patience.
Shelley Bradaric, RECE, BASc (Hons)
Waterdown District Children’s Centre and Camp Waterdown