Nurseries will remain open next week and measures meant to provide them with support will be extended to 30 June, the Government of the Federation of Wallonia-Brussels (FWB) said on Friday after a meeting with the sector.
A request for priority to be awarded to the staff of day-care centres, where vaccinations against the novel Coronavirus is concerned, will also be supported, the FWB Government said.
At Friday’s meeting, held at the initiative of the Minister for Children’s Affairs, Bénédicte Linard, sector representatives wished unanimously to keep the nurseries open, according to the Community’s Government, which was also represented at the encounter by Prime Minister Pierre-Yves Jeholet and a representative of the Budget Ministry, Frédéric Daerden.
“The nurseries will thus continue to cater for all children who registered, as it has been doing since the start of the crisis,” the FWB Government said.
It added that it “also supports the legitimate request for staff of the day-care centres to be included in the priority categories, including on the waiting lists for extra vaccines, and when the vaccination campaign will have been able to protect the most vulnerable persons.”
Finally, measures meant to support both the sector and parents have been extended to 30 June.
These include a flat allowance to offset the complete or partial closures of day-care centres, extending the motives for children’s absences, and reviewing parents’ financial contributions for the period from 29 March to 18 April 2021.
These pandemic-support measures represent a total cost of 3.2 million euros, the FWB Government said. A mid-term review of the programme will be done by the Education Ministry in early May.
“Professionals in the day-care sector have been on the frontline since the start of the health crisis. We recognise their commitment to continue to take care of the little ones in often difficult conditions and we hail their will to keep the nurseries open,” Minister Linard said.
“With this extension of support, we are convinced the day-care structures will be able to keep on playing their essential role in the functioning of our society,” Prime Minister Jeholet added.
“Since the start of the crisis, the Government has been mobilising, especially at the budgetary level, for all its sectors,” Spokesman Daerden said. “The Consultative Committee’s decisions required a reaction. That’s the spirit in which we met this morning and went on to adopt the required support measures.
“This was necessary to guarantee the support for the children, to preserve our day-care structures, but also to reaffirm our support for the sector and our recognition of its commitment,” Daerden explained.