YMCA offers flexible, affordable childcare options

masked kid on swing

Asheville, N.C., July 29, 2020 – As the state’s largest provider of licensed school-age childcare, the YMCA of Western North Carolina is enhancing its childcare programs to meet the needs of working parents as area schools reopen under Plan B and Plan C.

The Y is working with its school partners to create a flexible program that can accommodate changes to school plans and offer consistent care that meets children’s social, emotional, and academic needs for the 2020-2021 school year.

Starting Aug. 17, the Y will offer childcare options for the state’s Plan B (in-person and remote) and Plan C (fully remote). As always, the programs are affordable and accessible to all.

Partner in education

The YMCA is recognized as a national leader in safe, supportive, and nurturing childcare that emphasizes social-emotional learning, physical activity, and healthy eating. During a typical school year, the Y provides afterschool care for more than 1,200 children each week in Buncombe, Henderson, and McDowell counties.

To help meet educational challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Y has worked closely with school systems, community partners, and parents to set up full-day virtual instruction programs that complement and enrich the learning experience.

“Our qualified and caring staff will work closely with students on their daily virtual classwork to support their academic goals,” said Melissa Wiedeman, vice president of operations for K-12 Childcare. “Rest assured that we will also continue to operate with thorough health safeguards to keep children and our staff safe.”

Reopening childcare options

The Y’s childcare programs vary by school system and are subject to change. Here’s an overview:

• Asheville City Schools
As of July 23, ACS plans to reopen in Plan C for all grades for the first nine weeks of school. During this time, the Y will operate “School’s Out” care at the YMCA Youth Services Center for ACS students in K-5.

• Buncombe County Schools
As of July 28, Buncombe County Schools will implement an enhanced version of Plan B. After one week in Plan B for onboarding and orientation, all K-8 students will switch to Plan C until Sept. 28. During the Plan B week, the Y will offer onsite afterschool programs as well as full-day care at the YMCA Youth Services Center at Beaverdam and the Reuter Family YMCA. During Plan C the Y will operate “School’s Out” locations in the Roberson, Reynolds, Enka, and North Buncombe districts.

• Henderson County Public Schools
As of July 20, HCPS will reopen in Plan C for all grades for the first six weeks of the school year. Under Plan C, the Y will offer full-day care at the UNC Asheville Kellogg Center. When HCPS moves to Plan B, the Y will offer afterschool and full-day care at the Kellogg Center.

McDowell County Schools
On July 27, McDowell County approved a hybrid of Plan B and Plan C. In addition to afterschool care at onsite school locations in Plan B, the Y will offer full-day care at the Corpening Memorial YMCA on any day that MCS is in plan B or C.

Program details

Hours of operations will vary by school system, and will adjust to meet local school day requirements. The Y will provide afterschool care during Plan B weeks. During Plan B and Plan C weeks, the Y will also offer full-day care.

Families can sign up for afterschool care, full-day care, or both. In Buncombe and Henderson, afterschool is $95/week per child and full-day care is $200. In McDowell, afterschool is $73.15/week per child and full-day care is $154.

Community donations fund scholarships, which are available for each program on a sliding scale.

Safety precautions

To protect the health and safety of children, staff, and families, the Y has implemented additional safety measures in accordance with local, state, and federal orders and guidance:

• Health screenings for all staff and participants

• Rides in/out health screenings

• Hand washing scheduled and offered throughout the day

• Social distancing practices

• Modified games to encourage social distancing

• No sharing of toys, food, etc.

• Face coverings for children and staff

• Sanitizing high use areas and materials throughout the day and at the end of every day

Expansion plans

The Y is actively exploring options to expand its offerings if demand for school-age childcare exceeds current capacity. Morning and afternoon half-day programs at YMCAs are a possibility.

“Expansion depends on several factors, including community need, staffing, site availability, philanthropic support, and licensing restrictions,” Wiedeman said. “We’ll announce plans before the school year begins.”

For more information and to sign up, visit ymcawnc.org/afterschool-programs or call 828 251 5910.