Frequently Asked Questions About 2020 Childcare Programs

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine is offering childcare at seven of its Chester County branches during summer 2020. If you are interested in registering for childcare, please fill in this form

We can't wait to see you!

Which branches are offering summer childcare?

Summer childcare is being offered at seven locations this summer:

  • Brandwyine - 295 Hurley Road Coatesville, PA 19320
  • Jennersville - 880 W. Baltimore PikeWest Grove, PA 19390
  • Kennettt Area - 101 Race Street, Kennett Square, PA 19348
  • Lionville - 100 Devon Drive, Exton, PA 19341
  • Oscar Lasko - 1 E. Chestnut Street, West Chester, PA 19380
  • Upper Main Line - 1416 Berwyn-Paoli Road, Berwyn, PA 19312
  • West Chester - 605 Airport Road, West Chester, PA 19380

As we take into account the many precautions that need to be implemented, capacity limits and staffing needs, it is unfortunately not possible to open our Octorara YMCA Program Center for camp and childcare this summer. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience we know this causes you. While the situation we are in due to COVID-19 continually changes, we anticipate reopening our childcare program at Octorara this fall.

For the summer, we can provide care for your child(ren) at our Jennersville YMCA or Brandywine YMCA—both of which are a short distance from the Octorara YMCA Program Center. Our staff will be happy to assist you in transferring your child’s registration if you would like. Simply contact us using the information below:

Jennersville YMCA

Aaron Karpas, Executive Director

610-869-9622, ext. 2532

Brandywine YMCA

LaKeisha Harris, Executive Director

610-380-9622, ext. 2417

Note that if you receive Child Care Works (CCW) funding, you will need to register for camp at our Brandywine YMCA. CCW funding is accepted for childcare (Infant to Pre-K) at both locations.

What health and safety protocols are you implementing as a result of COVID-19?

In planning for childcare, our highest priority is always protecting the health and safety of your children, our staff and our members. Due to COVID-19, we have implemented new procedures and protocols based on the latest directives and recommendations provided by the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the State of Pennsylvania. We are also prepared to quickly evolve plans to align with any health agency updates.

In accordance with the Governor's phased-in reopening plan for summer programs in yellow or green phase counties, all are invited to view our Health and Safety Plan, which follows the CDC guidance for Youth and Summer Camps.

While childcare will certainly look different, our talented team is hard at work creating a safe experience within the new parameters so that all children still safely enjoy exciting adventures, can begin new friendships and have a great summer. Some of the new protocols include:

  • All children and staff will be screened prior to the start of each day to ensure they are healthy. Anyone exhibiting a temperature of 100.4 or higher or other symptoms of illness will not be permitted to attend our childcare programs. Visitors will need special approval to be onsite. 
  • More frequent handwashing breaks and enhanced disinfecting procedures are being implemented.
  • Parents and guardians will remain in their cars during drop-off and pickup with a member of our staff accompanying each child to their classrooms. Parents of infants may take their child to their classroom, however, they will have to go through a health screening prior to entering the building.
  • Social distancing will be employed through the use of stable groups. Every effort will be made to keep siblings in the same group, as well as having the same staff member with each group. This group will be autonomous, maintaining recommended social distancing from all other groups and in this way, the children will be limited in their exposure to others.

What is social distancing/stable groups?

Social distancing requires a combination of several protocols. 

  • Social Distancing in the Drop-off & Pick-up time will be accomplished by physical demarcations among age groups within a space. 
  • Stable Groups, throughout the day, will function as a cohort of children and staff that stay together.
  • Staff will maintain the 6 ft. recommended distancing from each other, whenever possible.

How will social distancing guidelines be followed?

Social distancing in childcare refers to a stable group staying away from other groups and encouraging individual activities for children in the classroom. Staff in the classroom should maintain the 6 ft. recommended distancing from each other.

During the morning drop-off and late afternoon before closing period, staff will remain socially distanced in a reasonable manner.

How do I make changes to my child's enrollment?

If you'd like to make changes to your child's enrollment, please contact our childcare administration team at

Can we still get a refund if we need to cancel?

We understand that this situation is fluid and have adjusted our refund and cancellation policy as follows. A 30-day written notice to the Childcare Director at is required to withdraw your child. Without written notice, a financial charge of one month's tuition will be assessed. Re-enrollment is not guaranteed.

How will staff be trained and monitored?

All staff will be trained on social distancing, stable groups, cleaning and disinfecting (according to CDC guidelines), virus spread reduction practices as well as required handwashing. Each branch will have a designated staff member responsible for making sure that all program participants as well as staff, adhere to the requirements.

Will children be instructed on good hygiene practices?

All children will participate in an orientation to include a discussion on the need to be attentive to personal space and avoiding close contact, stable group management,

handwashing techniques, mask management, keeping hands away from the face, sneezing and coughing etiquette and respecting others' belongings.

Will hand sanitizer be available?

Hand sanitizer will be provided and used as needed when children and staff are not near a sink. Parents are invited to donate hand sanitizer.

Will there be increased handwashing?

Children and staff will wash their hands upon arrival and multiple times during the day. Staff will instruct children how to wash hands effectively, and we ask that you review the importance of handwashing at home. Hand sanitizer will be available when sinks are not close by.

Who will be wearing masks?

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, all staff will wear masks while at work. Children will not be required to wear masks while in our care.

Update as of 7/1/20: As you may have seen, Governor Tom Wolf announced a new order regarding the wearing of masks. We are currently working to obtain additional information as to the specific details of this order. As soon as we have this clarity, we will let you know if any changes are needed to the procedures we have already implemented in regards to wearing masks at the YMCA.

My child has health issues. Is coming to child care a good idea?

We cannot offer an opinion on whether or not participating in YMCA programs is a good fit for your child. That decision is up to you. We can assure you that, following the guidelines we have been provided, we are doing everything we can to provide the safest environment possible for children and staff.

What will the health screening look like?

Upon arrival, all children and staff will be temperature checked upon arrival and asked the screening questions listed below.

If any individual has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher they are not permitted to enter the YMCA/attend camp. If any individual answers YES to any of the symptoms below (or any 2 from question 3), they may not enter the YMCA/attend camp.

Question 1: Have you been in contact with anyone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?

Question 2: In the past 24 hours, have you experienced a persistent cough or shortness of breath.

Question 3: In the past 24 hours, have you had any of the following symptoms (2 or more symptoms precludes entry to the YMCA):

  1. New loss of taste/smell
  2. Body aches
  3. Sore throat
  4. Fever
  5. Chills
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Repeated shaking with chills
  8. Muscle pain
  9. Headache

In addition, all children and staff will be monitored throughout the day for signs of illness.  Should there be a concern, the individual will be moved to an identified and isolated location, and their parent or guardian will be contacted to pick up their child immediately. Impacted children and their families will be contacted about the process to return to care.

For everyone's health and safety, we cannot make exceptions, and we thank you in advance for not asking our staff to do so if your child is not permitted to enter the camp site. There is a short questionnaire regarding COVID exposure as well upon arrival.


What will pick up and drop off look like?

Drop off and pick up will be done curbside with parents and guardians remaining in their cars. When you arrive in the drop off lane, your child’s temperature will be taken and you will be asked a short series of health screening questions by a staff member who will be wearing gloves, eye protection and mask. A staff member will then escort your child to wash their hands and then to their classroom. During pickup, YMCA staff members are not permitted to buckle any child into their car seat.

Will children be allowed on playgrounds?

Yes, the playgrounds will now be available for children to use. Playgrounds will be disinfected daily as part of the daily clean/disinfection process.

What will indoor classroom spaces look like?

In all classrooms, we have removed any unnecessary items and reduced the amount of furniture. Seating around tables is limited and soft surfaces that are tougher to clean have been removed. Center areas will be further apart, and the number of children invited to play in these areas will be reduced.

Will my children be sharing supplies and equipment with other children?

The stable groups will share equipment as needed but every effort will be made to provide individual supplies and equipment whenever possible. Items that will be used by another group will be cleaned and disinfected between groups.

Can I visit during the day?

The CDC recommends no visitors on site. So until further notice, we are not inviting parents to visit. If you have specific concerns, please discuss them with the director.

Are there going to be field trips/bus rides?

Until further notice, all activities will occur on-site.

Will the pools be open for swimming?

Yes. The Department of Health recently announced that pools can be open. Each branch will evaluate if they can provide access to a pool. Check with your branch director regarding swimming plans for your program.

What kinds of activities will be available?

Classroom activities will look very much like they did before and will include dramatic play, art, music, blocks/building, science, manipulatives, sand and water play, library and computers.

What happens if a child tests positive for COVID-19?

If the YMCA identifies a child who tested positive for COVID-19 or we learn they are positive, we will take the following steps:

  • The YMCA will immediately notify local health officials.
  • The YMCA will notify the parents of those in the affected stable group.
  • The Director will inform those who have had close contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19 to stay home and self-monitor for symptoms and to follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop.
    • If a person does not have symptoms, CDC guidance for home isolation should be followed.
  • Students in the stable group and staff who were in close contact with the affected child will be asked to stay home for 2-5 days.
    • This initial short-term dismissal allows time for the local health officials to gain a better understanding of the COVID-19 situation impacting the Y and for custodial staff to clean and disinfect the affected facilities.
    • The Y will work with the local health officials to determine appropriate next steps, including whether an extended dismissal duration is needed to stop or slow the further spread of COVID-19.
  • The affected classroom will be closed for 24 hours, then thoroughly disinfected before using it again.

In the case of a confirmed case, the CDC recommends the child not return until:

  • Authorization by a medical professional OR at least 72 hours have passed since recovery, which is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.
  • AND at least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared OR receipt of a negative COVID-19 test.