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WASHINGTON – August 14, 2020 –-While some schools in the Washington Metropolitan area have decided to hold virtual and distance-learning classes this fall, others have chosen to bring children back to school on an alternating daily schedule. All of this has left many parents struggling to figure out how to juggle work and children. “The Y has made the decision to serve our members and community in meeting their needs for full-day and half-day childcare options. The demand for childcare is high and our plan is to support children through virtual and distance learning in a nurturing environment. We want to ease parents’ stress so they can return to work and provide for their families,” said Reynard Eaglin, vice president of youth development and operations.
In order to meet member parents’ needs, the Y will have programs for school-age children that support distance learning including learning hubs while collaborating with schools across the region. “We surveyed our members and the feedback has been overwhelming as many parents are trying to figure out their work and their children’s school needs,” Eaglin added. In addition, the Y is partnering with school districts and is looking for other sites around the region that might also be able to serve as many children as possible under the COVID-19 guidelines.
Recently, the Y opened several of its sites to operate traditional summer camp to help parents who need childcare as they return to work. The Y’s Traditional Summer Camp program is providing children with the opportunity to engage in fun activities including arts and crafts, music and movement, outdoor play, and sports while following COVID-19 protective guidelines. “We’re anticipating that our fall childcare will look much like our popular summer day camps,” said Eaglin. “We’ll not only assist children with their distance learning needs and homework, but we’ll also provide character building and recreational activities.”
To keep children safer, the Y has implemented the following safety precautions:
- Strict limited capacity based on local licensing guidelines, the Centers for Disease Control and local mandates.
- Daily health screenings for children and staff upon arrival, mid-day and at departure.
- Children should follow local guidelines in regards to wearing masks.
- Masks and personal protective equipment will be worn by all staff and extensive cleaning procedures implemented throughout the day.
- The Y will also be limiting contact between students and student groups.
- Per the local and CDC guidelines, all students will be in small groups.
- Each child will receive individual fun activity learning packs – no materials will be shared.
- All program areas will be cleaned and sanitized throughout the day.
- All centers and classrooms are inspected to have appropriate signage and room arrangements.
To further ensure a safer environment, the Y’s employees overseeing the children have all completed training in COVID-19 health and safety, child abuse prevention, parent communication, and training provided by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Final schedules and locations across the area are still being decided. For more information and updates, go to www.ymcadc.com.