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YMCA rolls out ‘essential child care’ starting April 1

YMCA of Northern BC CEO Amanda Alexander
YMCA of Northern BC CEO Amanda Alexander

The YMCA of Northern BC will continue its child care services in a new and expanded format starting April 1.

The YMCA Essential Child Care program will include care continuing at multiple YMCA Early Years Child Care locations, while YMCA Before and After School Child Care programs will expand to offer full day care.

“Since the pandemic began, the YMCA has been committed to continuing to provide child care as an essential service to families across northern B.C.,” says Amanda Alexander, CEO, in a news release. “With the help of the Province of BC’s temporary emergency child care funding, the YMCA will be able to continue to provide child care services, expand our program hours and meet the childcare needs of families who essential work in essential services.”

Dr. Bonnie Henry, the Provincial Health Officer for British Columbia, is encouraging parents who can care for their children to do so at home. YMCA Child care spots will be reserved for families who choose to keep their children at home or who cannot attend YMCA Child Care due to COVID-19.

“Many of the YMCA’s programs are not at capacity right now as many families are following the advice of public health,” said Alexander. “We are opening up child care spots where they are available to any parent or caregiver who needs child care during the pandemic.”

Fees for YMCA Essential Child Care will remain the same as typical YMCA Child Care. In order to support families who are needing to work during this time, the YMCA of Northern BC will continue to operate our full day child care at the YMCA Highland Family Development Centre, YMCA St. Giles Care and Learning Centre, YMCA Lac Des Bois Care and Learning Centre, and YMCA Early Learning and Care Centre on Massey Drive from 7:45 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Preschool and regular Before and After School Care Programs will be closed. The YMCA is working on further plans to support essential services workers at more locations during the pandemic.

Families whose income has changed due to COVID-19 are encouraged to reach out to the Affordable Child Care Benefit Program for reconsideration of their application.

Since March 13, the YMCA has implemented a number of enhanced health measures so that child care could continue operating. The YMCA will continue these measures:

  • In compliance with public health recommendations, if a child or staff has had symptoms recently, such as fever, sore throat, coughing, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, they must self-isolate for 10 days from the onset of the symptoms before returning to child care;
  • Health screenings are being carried out and all families are asked to complete a Health Declaration Form at drop-off/sign-in each day;
  • If anyone develops symptoms or has a fever during a program, they will be asked to self-isolate for 10 days before returning to the YMCA program;
  • Regular hand washing for children and staff is taking place throughout the day; and
  • Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing of high touch surfaces are completed at regular intervals.
  • Use of the sign-in and sign-out table in the main entrance of each centre which restricts public access to the program space.

More information and registration forms for YMCA Essential Child Care can be found at nbc.ymca.ca or by contacting YMCA Child Care Administration at kaitlin.keber@nbc.ymca.ca.

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