FLEMINGTON, NJ - The Hunterdon County YMCA is the largest provider of child care in the county, and, after a successful summer program, CEO Bruce Black spoke to the Flemington-Raritan school board about just how the agency is keeping children safe during the pandemic.
The district is partnering with the YMCA to offer an after-school program at Copper Hill Elementary School.
Black said the YMCA catered to 200 children a day during its summer camp with zero cases of COVID-19.
“I think everyone is concerned with, ‘How do we do it, how do we manage it, how do we keep our kids safe?’” Black said to school board members via Zoom at the most recent board meeting.
The first line of defense is health screenings, Black said, with temperatures taken before children can enter the facilities and screening questions about possible symptoms and travel to high-impact areas. Parents currently are not allowed in the centers, he said.
“Once they are in the center, they are grouped into no more than 10 children in a group,” he said. “That group stays together all day.”
Students are able to take breaks from their masks while outside, a time Black said the children can really be kids.
“We also do try to get outside as much as possible,” he said.
At the end of the day, Black said, parents are asked to call a phone number for a staff member to escort children to their cars.
“It’s important to hear from the Y as a facility offering child care to the community,” board president Tim Bart said of the presentation.
“We are well-versed in what it takes to run a quality child care program,” Black said.
Last year, the YMCA had 1,000 children enrolled in its child care programs. That number is down this year.
“Right now, the YMCA is significantly under-attended,” said superintendent Dr. Kari McGann.