YMCA to provide care for school-age children of essential workers

The State of Minnesota and the YMCA are partnering to provide care for school-age children for essential workers and employees in the health field as schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Starting Monday, the 38 YMCA sites across Minnesota will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to care for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The sites will follow health department guidelines, such as social distancing.

The governor's executive order denotes two tiers of emergency workers, the first of which include health care workers and first responders. The second tier includes educators, grocery store workers and utility workers. For a full list of the applicable jobs, click here.

The YMCA program will prioritize Tier Two emergency workers because some school districts have not been able to accommodate needs. 


Minnesota daycares, childcare centers urged to stay open during COVID-19 school closings

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced the closure of all K-12 public schools statewide Sunday morning, but urged daycares and childcare centers to remain open during the closings. 

“For over 164 years, the Y has been committed to youth development. And this commitment is even more important as we are facing unprecedented times where our children need a safe and nurturing place to go when their parents who are critical workers and essential employees need to work because they directly support the efforts to mitigate the impact the coronavirus has in our community,” said Glen Gunderson, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities in a press release.

The program costs $40 a day. Children will need to bring a snack and lunch. Financial assistance is available.

To register, click here or call 612-230-9622.

Friday, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Minnesota also announced the agency is working with schools to provide child care for emergency and health service workers. Starting March 16, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the club will offer services at Mississippi Heights (St. Cloud), Pine Meadow (Sartell) and Madison (Sauk Rapids) schools.

For more information on the Boys and Girls Club offerings, including who counts as "emergency and health care workers," you can click here. Officials say parents will also need to register for services online.

More information from the YMCA

Child Care at YMCA Early Childhood Learning Centers

The YMCA has 500 openings for children at its 10 locations in the Greater Twin Cities and Rochester area.  Parents/guardians can go to the web site to register immediately www.ymcamn.org/PreschoolChildCare or show up in the morning at the location and a Y staff person will help get them registered (typically takes 30 minutes.)

YMCA Youth Resource Line

There are youth and young adults facing homelessness, eviction, unemployment and more during this community crisis. The YMCA Youth Resource Line is a free resource line for youth and young adults 12-24 who are in need of community resources. YMCA Life Coaches offer referrals to YMCA and community resources based on the young person’s needs. Call 763-493-3052.

YMCA 360 Offers On-Demand Exercise & Wellbeing Programs and Youth Sports Classes 24/7

The Y is launched online exercise classes and youth programs to support the health and well-being of the community. The programs available on www.ymca360.org include popular group exercise classes like Boot Camp, Barre, Yoga, low impact programs, and youth sports classes. There are also classes for our seniors to stay active at home. The free on-demand programs are available for Y members and the community. The Y plans to release more exercise classes for adults, spiritual and emotional support videos, and classes for kids throughout March and April.

“With many people practicing social distancing or impacted by school closures due to the spread of COVID-19, we saw a need for healthy living and youth development programs that could be accessed from anywhere,” said Glen Gunderson, CEO of the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities. “Shifting to offer classes online through YMCA 360 felt like the best way to continue to live out our mission to serve all.”

YMCA 360 is designed to help individual exercisers and families engage with the YMCA virtually from the comfort of home. More than a dozen classes are already available, with more to be released in the coming weeks.

Gunderson added that for over 164 years, the Y has continuously evolved to meet the changing needs of our community. We’re excited to offer participants the same high-quality experience they expect from the classes they know and love at their local Y in a digital format.

Learn more about YMCA 360 classes and enjoy 24/7 access to on-demand programs at ymca360.org.

In addition, the YMCA is providing child care to health care employees, first responders and critical workers with school partners.  The Y is doing wellness checks to senior members and being a resource to them. The YMCA is partnering with local business and nonprofits to ensure youth, families and seniors have access to food/