COVID-19 and construction delays mean licensed child care at a number of Nanaimo-Ladysmith schools won’t be ready for the start of the new school year.
The B.C. government announced in July 2020 that SD68 would receive funding for 406 new licensed childcare spaces at district facilities, with work to prepare school sites anticipated to take place between last September this coming October. However, in a social media post today, July 28, the district said Forest Park, Chase River, Rock City and Ladysmith Primary schools won’t be ready to begin providing child care this fall.
Dale Burgos, school district spokesman, said there are other schools with existing child care service and families can contact those providers directly.
“It’s not necessarily a catchment [system],” said Burgos. “If you live in the north and you want to get space on the south side because it’s maybe closer to work, my understanding is, if there’s space, then they’ll take you, but that also doesn’t mean that you‘ll get into that school automatically if you are in the child care program because it is a separate system.”
Forest Park was slated to offer 76 spaces, while Chase River and Ladysmith Primary were expected to offer 72 and Rock City 52 licensed spaces.
“The big reason why we wanted to put this message out there is the district has been receiving calls and e-mails from families in the community and they’re just wondering when these sites will be open,” said Burgos. “The bigger question is, of course, people wanting to get on a wait-list or secure a spot on one of these sites.”
Burgos said more updates will be provided sometime in August and said Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools anticipates adding more information about child care on the SD68 website.
Burgos said it isn’t known when the school sites will be completed.
“That may still take a little more time,” said Burgos. “I wasn’t given any deadlines or timelines yet.”