YMCA turns its focus to providing temporary daycare during crisis

Openings remain at both Clay County locations


CLAY COUNTY – While the YMCA’s gym, pool, and other amenities are closed indefinitely during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, its “kid zone” area is open as a temporary daycare for parents in need.

The YMCA’s six first coast locations closed with the onset of the coronavirus outbreak but the company, seeing a need in the community, quickly shifted gears to open its doors as a daycare. Spots are still open at both Clay County YMCA locations.

“With the announcement that schools are closed, we have made the decision to open our doors for childcare purposes,” YMCA afterschool experience executive Chuck Steinfurth said. “We opened these up because we know there is a need for it in the community.”

Steinfurth said with the county’s many police and fire departments, hospitals and navy base, there are a lot of people not able to work from home or take care of their children at home with school out for the time being. The YMCA wanted to make sure these needs were covered, he said.

If you’re a YMCA member, the daycare costs $120 per week or $150 for non-members. You don’t have to be a YMCA member to sign up for the daycare.

“We’ve received great feedback already,” Steinfurth said. “The ones that have needed it are certainly appreciated. There are so little choices now with everything going on and families working still need a safe and trusted place for their kids. We saw that we could provide that, so we made it happen.”

Steinfurth said the daycare is still following all coronavirus-related procedures so the daycare area is cleaned frequently and sanitized constantly. The staff to child ratio has been decreased to meet with group standard and curbside parent pickup has been enacted to limit the exposure of people with the daycare rooms.

Regular health screenings are taking place as well to make sure children aren’t showing symptoms of the virus, Steinfurth said.

The daycare is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Students using laptops and other devices for the school district’s current distance learning plan may bring their devices to the YMCA’s daycare, too.

Steinfurth said this pop-up daycare is helping not only children and parents, but YMCA staff as well. Instead of being out of work, they’re able to continue “kid zone” work in the daycare.

While most of the YMCA facility is closed, members can still get their workout in with online activities, live classes, and virtual events on the company’s website.

“We love our community and that’s why we’re doing all we can to help.”


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