Ensuring the Safety of our Students and Teachers

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!

Icon of a person with a fever of 100.4 shown on a thermometer

Health Checks

All children and staff are 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 is not permitted to attend our childcare programs. Visitors need special approval to be onsite. 

Icon with two people and 6 feet indicator between them.

Stable Groups

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.

A white icon on a blue circle with a hand wiping a surface

Cleaning & Disinfecting

More frequent handwashing breaks and enhanced disinfecting procedures have been implemented.

Frequently Asked Questions about 2020 Childcare Programs

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 have been implemented 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.

Our talented team continually works to ensure the safest experience possible, while ensuring children still have every opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Our protocols include, but are not limited to:

  • All children and staff are 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 is not ermitted to attend our childcare programs. Visitors need special approval to be onsite. 
  • More frequent handwashing breaks and enhanced disinfecting procedures have been 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 during drop-off & pick-up time is accomplished by physical demarcations among age groups within a space. 
  • Stable groups, throughout the day, function as a cohort of children and staff that stay together.
  • Staff maintain the 6 ft. recommended distancing from each other, whenever possible.

How are social distancing guidelines 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 childcareadmin@ymcagbw.org.

Can we get a refund if we need to cancel?

We understand that the situation with COVID-19 is fluid and have adjusted our refund and cancellation policy as such. A 30-day written notice to the Childcare Director at childcareadmin@ymcagbw.org 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 are staff trained and monitored?

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

Are children instructed on good hygiene practices?

All children participate in an orientation that includes a discussion on the need to be attentive to personal space and avoid close contact, stable group management, handwashing techniques, mask management, keeping hands away from the face, sneezing and coughing etiquette and respecting others' belongings.

Is hand sanitizer 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.

Is there increased handwashing?

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

Who is wearing masks?

Updated as of July 8, 2020: The Pennsylvania Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) provided additional direction on face coverings for children following the order Governor Wolf issued last week. All children ages two and up will need to wear a face covering at YMCA camp and childcare programs unless one of the exceptions below applies:

  • If a child is outdoors and able to consistently maintain a social distance of at least six feet from individuals who are not a part of their household
  • If a parent or guardian has been unable to place a face covering safely on the child’s face
  • If a child is unable to remove a face mask without assistance

Face masks can be removed during mealtimes and napping, as the children will be socially distanced. Face masks will be removed when swimming.

We know it can be difficult for children, especially those who are younger, to understand why they need to wear a face covering and often to keep a face covering on. We will encourage children to keep masks on as much as possible. In our childcare and camp programs, we will be discussing the need to wear face coverings with all of the children.

Below are some suggestions for how to encourage your child to wear a face covering:

  • Give your children matching masks for their favorite doll or stuffed animal to wear
  • Have your children decorate their own masks so they are personalized and more fun
  • Make sure you model wearing a face mask so your children understand how important it is
  • Practice wearing a face covering at home with your children

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 does 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 or 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 are 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 does pick up and drop off look like?

Drop off and pick up are done curbside with parents and guardians remaining in their cars. When you arrive in the drop off lane, your child’s temperature is taken and you are asked a short series of health screening questions by a staff member who is wearing gloves, eye protection and a mask. A staff member escorts 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.

Are children allowed on playgrounds?

Yes, the playgrounds are available for children to use. Playgrounds are disinfected daily as part of our daily cleaning and disinfection process.

What do 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 is reduced.

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

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

Can I visit during the day?

The CDC recommends no visitors on site. As such, until further notice, we are not inviting parents to visit. If you have specific concerns, please discuss them with the director. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Are there field trips/bus rides?

Until further notice, all activities occur on-site.

Are the pools open for swimming?

Yes. Each YGBW branch evaluates their ability to provide access to a pool. Check with your branch director regarding swimming plans for your program.

What kinds of activities are available?

Classroom activities look very much like they did before and 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 are in close contact with the affected student will be asked to stay home 14 days after the last know contacted of those affected..
    • 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.