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YMCA of Northern BC to offer ‘Essential Child Care’ services in April

Expanded services to help families who need to work during COVID-19 pandemic
The YMCA will offer expanded childcare services to help workers during the pandemic. (via Shutterstock)

The YMCA of Northern BC says it'll be offering essential childcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Starting April 1, a new and expanded format will be in place at the Prince George YMCA, known as the YMCA Essential Child Care program.

This will include continuing care at multiple Early Years Child Care locations, and YMCA Before and After School Child Care programs will expand to offer full daycare.

“Since the pandemic began, the YMCA has been committed to continuing to provide child care as an essential service to families across Northern BC” says CEO Amanda Alexander 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.

“Many of the YMCA’s programs are not at capacity right now as many families are following the advice of public health,” says 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 also implemented a number of enhanced health measures so that child care could continue operating.  

  • 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 handwashing for children and staff is taking place throughout the day
  • 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 Essential Child Care can be found on the YMCA of Northern BC's website.