Frequently Asked Questions about 2021 Childcare Programs

Ensuring the Safety of our Students and Teachers

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Billing and Enrollment Information

What are your childcare refund policies?

We understand that the situation with COVID-19 is fluid and have adjusted our refund and cancellation policy as such. 

Refund for Illness or Quarantine:

  • In the event that an individual is required to quarantine due to a COVID exposure. 
    • Childcare Programs: No refunds or credits will be available for the duration of the individuals' quarantine.
    • Learning Center: Families should contact their YMCA program director if they anticipate missing the program for an entire week. No partial credits are available.
       
  • In the event that an individual chooses to travel to a state on the quarantine list and is required to quarantine for two weeks upon return.
    • Childcare Programs: No refunds will be available for the travel or quarantine. 
    • Learning Center Program: Families should contact their YMCA program director at least one week prior to their travel. Families can be eligible for a credit for the time they will need to spend in quarantine. 
       
  • In the event that your child has a positive case in their stable group at the YMCA and must quarantine.
    • As the YMCA is unable to provide care for your child until the end of the quarantine period, a full credit will be provided for the duration of the quarantine.
    • Please note: Our kindergarten program has a minimum instructional requirement of 180 days. In the event of a COVID exposure or quarantine in the Kindergarten program, the classes will be moved to virtual and no refunds will be necessary. 
       
  • In the event that your child is sick, regardless of illness, or absent for a reason not listed above.
    • ​​​​​​​No refunds will be available. 

Termination of Enrollment:

  • 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 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.

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.

COVID and Safety Information

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.

How are you managing social distancing and 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.

For children in childcare programs, social distancing refers to a stable group (typically a classroom) staying away from other groups (or other classrooms). Staff also encourage children to participate in more individual activities in the classroom or utilize outdoor play. Masks are also required for all participants. 

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.

Is there increased handwashing and attention to 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.

Children and staff wash their hands upon arrival and multiple times during the day. Staff will instruct children on how to wash hands effectively, and we ask that you review the importance of handwashing at home also. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

Outdoor playgrounds are also available for children to use (weather depending). Playgrounds are disinfected daily as part of our daily cleaning and disinfection process.

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 they have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours. Symptom-free is defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications.