The YMCA of Northern B.C. will be expanding its child care options in the city starting on April 1 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the YMCA said it will continue to provide care at its YMCA Early Years Child Care locations from 7:45 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and will expand its before and after-school care programs to offer full-day care.
“Since the pandemic began, the YMCA has been committed to continuing to provide child care as an essential service to families across northern B.C.” YMCA of Northern B.C. CEO Amanda Alexander said in a press release. “With the help of the Province of B.C.’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 (do) essential work in essential services.”
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, has encouraged parents to keep children home if they can. Parents who choose to keep their children at home will not lose their spot at any YMCA childcare programs, Alexander said.
“Many of the YMCA’s programs are not at capacity right now as many families are following the advice of public health,” she said. “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 the YMCA Essential Child Care program will remain the same as typical child care programs. Families who have lose income because of the pandemic can reach out to the Affordable Child Care Benefit Program for possible financial support during the crisis.
Since March 13, the YMCA has been requiring parents to keep children home from child care if they have shown any symptoms associated with COVID-19 including fever, sore throat, difficulty breathing, etc. Parents are required to complete a health declaration form each morning at drop off and children are being tested for fever before they are allowed to enter the centres.
Public access to the child care locations has been limited by requiring parents and caregivers to sign their children in and out at the main entrance, and enhanced hand washing and cleaning is being done throughout the day.
For more information, go online to nbc.ymca.ca or contact the YMCA child care administration by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.