Happy House Daycare in Cold Lake. Image credit: Happy House.
Cold Lake has been approved as an essential daycare location in Alberta during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has allowed Happy House daycare’s two locations in the north and south ends of the city to re-open in a limited capacity.
Happy House was also approved by Bonnyville’s municipal planning commission for space at the Centennial Centre with hopes to open later this year.
On April 14th, the daycare re-opened their doors with a maximum capacity of 24 children at each centre in Cold Lake for essential service workers.
Besides Grande Prairie, Cold Lake is the only open daycare in the northern half of province as approved by the Alberta Government.
The south location is for school-aged children, Grade 1 and up, and the north location is for daycare children age, up to five years old, said Uta Squire, owner of Happy House.
“We need to take this time to acknowledge the hard work that the City of Cold Lake did to make this possible,” Squire said on their website.
“We will be the first center opening in both the North East and North Central Region. The City of Cold Lake was extremely proactive and did so much work to make this happen for families in our community.”
Six staff members are present at each site and there’s an emphasis on cleanliness.
“Our rooms can only be six children to one staff. And every time a staff [member] goes into that room to relieve for breaks, then we have to go change into clean clothes and we’re always taking our temperature every three hours,” Squire told Lakeland Connect.
“There’s a huge checklist that we have to sign off. And we do a lot, a lot of cleaning.”
Residents who have continued working during the pandemic and are considered essential by the province are allowed to pursue daycare, and there are still vacancies.
Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic began, daycare centres across the province were forced to close.
C2 location hopes to open in August
The Happy House had pursued a building in the industrial area of Bonnyville in January but was denied at the time by town council because of the location.
Now, Squire said they are hoping they won’t be delayed from opening in the late summer.
“It was a relief. And so now we just have to hurry up and get in there. And hopefully, people are going back to work,” she said.
The daycare would be behind the canteen on the C2’s first floor in two classrooms, which opens up into four rooms.
Once BCHS students return to their high school location, they will have a wing to operate out of, she said.
Bonnyville does not have an open childcare centre at the moment because the Town has not been approved by the province.
If they are approved, care may be available at the Bonnyville and District Daycare.
“We will do open house registration. I just received already our first child register already. It’ll be all set up through our website as well that people can apply on our website.”