RICHMOND, Va. -- City officials announced the YMCA of Greater Richmond will provide emergency childcare to elementary and middle school-aged children of essential medical personnel in Richmond.
Richmond Mayor Stoney made the announcement outside the Downtown YMCA, which will open Monday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. as the first of several emergency childcare centers across the city.
Officials said the YMCA will care for the children of essential personne (Kindergarten through eight grade) while schools are closed over the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Healthcare providers will work directly with the YMCA to register the children of essential employees eligible to participate in the program," Stoney said.
YMCA of Greater Richmond President and CEO Tim Joyce said the agency is "honored to serve the families of our healthcare personnel during this unprecedented time."
"Our quality staff team is looking forward to giving these families the comfort of knowing their children are in a safe environment with professional caregivers who are dedicated to their community.” Joyce said.
Additionally, the city plans to open additional childcare sites at Richmond Public Schools facilities in the coming weeks, pending approval from the Virginia Department of Social Services, offiicals said.
"Those expanded sites will cater to other essential government and non-government personnel, including first responders, sanitation and sold waste workers, bus drivers, and grocery store and pharmacy staff, among others," officials said. "As the emergency childcare program expands to RPS sites, the city will partner with employers to identify and invite eligible participants."
The Community Foundation, through its newly-launched Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, has committed to support the launch and operation of these emergency childcare centers.
Officials stressed the childcare centers will adhere to the most recent guidelines from the Virginia Departments of Health and Social Services.
Those precautions include: maximum child-to-staff ratio of nine to one, frequent temperature checks and thorough cleaning with CDC-approved disinfectants.
Additionally, children experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or residing in a household with anyone experiencing symptoms will not be admitted.
“None of the essential workforce should have to choose between knowing their kids are safe and keeping our community running,” Stoney said.