COVID-19: Temporary Closure of YMCA of Metro Chicago Locations
COVID-19 Update: Temporary Closure of YMCA of Metro Chicago Locations
March 16, 2020
Dear Y Community,
First, I’d like to thank you for your membership to the YMCA and for your support of our mission to ensure family wellness. To say that these times are unprecedented and confusing is an understatement. But, I want to assure you that we at the Y are working tirelessly to keep our members, program participants, employees, and communities safe. To that end, I want to share some important news.
We have made the difficult decision to temporarily cease operations effective Monday, March 16, at 10:00 p.m., and will remain closed until further notice (date has been updated since this communication originally went out). We will close all locations, including membership centers, program sites, early childhood centers, and overnight camps.
It is our social responsibility to do our part to contain the virus for the safety of the community-at-large. We will continue to monitor guidance from federal, state, and local health authorities during this evolving national emergency to make sure that this plan is in the best interests of the health and safety of our members and staff.
Thank you for supporting the Y and our mission to develop strong children and families of all economic backgrounds across the Chicagoland area. We are a nonprofit organization – your membership and program fees allow the Y to faithfully serve more than 200,000 families and individuals annually.
This is a very challenging and unsettling time for all of us. We at the Y are facing the added challenge of doing what we can by providing salary and benefits continuation to assure that our staff can afford to keep themselves and their families safe and be available to serve you when this health emergency ends.
Therefore, if it is at all possible for you, we ask that you please continue your Y membership and program enrollment. We, as a community, will get through this. And when we do, we want to be in the best shape to support you and your family. If it is not financially feasible for you to do so, please call Member Services at 773.905.5115 (Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. - times have been updated since this communication originally went out)
In the meantime, we are working diligently and swiftly to prepare a collection of online resources to assist you in keeping you and your children learning and keep your family active during the temporary closure. In the coming days, expect to see school-age activities and fitness videos available on our website and YouTube channel that will keep you connected to the Y experience.
Please continue to check your emails, ymcachicago.org, and our Facebook page regularly as we will communicate any late-breaking updates through these channels in a timely manner to ensure you have the best information to plan accordingly.
Thank you again for being a loyal member of the YMCA and for your continued support. We wish you and your loved ones good health.
COVID-19: Update on Childcare Programs
March 13, 2020
We understand the important role that the YMCA of Metro Chicago plays in your family’s childcare needs. That is why we wanted to make sure we clearly communicated a few things regarding our education programming. In the event that your local school district(s) decides to close its schools due to COVID-19 concerns, the Y will NOT offer schools day out (SDO) programming at our centers. This also applies to all on-site and off-site preschool, after school, and spring break camp YMCA programs. In this event, this means you will need to make alternative plans for your children.
While regrettable, we feel this is the most responsible course of action based on the need to consider the health and well-being of our children, families and the community-at-large. We want you to know that this is not a decision we made lightly and hope we have your understanding.
As you can appreciate, these are unprecedented times we are experiencing, with new developments occurring every hour. We are trying to navigate our way through this in the best way we can. As news surrounding attempts to contain the coronavirus (or COVID-19) develop, we will continue to update you on all important decisions related to your child. In the meantime, please continue to practice safe hygiene, including:
- Stay home if you are sick
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue
- Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap or sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces
In addition, please know that the Y is constantly monitoring this evolving situation and following the guidelines of the CDC in all of our locations and workspaces to keep everyone safe. This includes:
- Stepping up our cleaning protocols
- Introducing the widespread use of Virex (a high-grade disinfectant typically used to clean hospitals and other healthcare facilities) on supplies, surfaces, and toys
- Daily cleaning at all centers and childcare sites
- Ensuring all facilities have ample soap, wipes, and anti-bacterial stands
- Working with public health authorities to make informed decisions for the health and wellbeing of the families we serve.
For additional information and FAQs on COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Member Services at 773.905.5115.
COVID-19 Update: Foglia YMCA
March 11, 2020
Earlier this evening, we were informed via social media of an alert that went out by the Lake County Health Department (LCHD) that a man in his fifties has tested positive for COVID-19. The man is known to have played basketball at the Foglia YMCA in Lake Zurich, Illinois on Saturday, February 29th between the hours of 6:45am – 9am.
As soon as we became aware of the situation, the YMCA of Metro Chicago immediately reached out to the LCHD seeking more details. The LCHD informs us that they are confident that the risk to Foglia Y members, staff, students, program participants, and guests is EXTREMELY LOW. Only those individuals who played basketball with the man are being advised to self-quarantine.
The YMCA of Metro Chicago has been taking the COVID-19 situation very seriously and has already implemented comprehensive cleaning measures in all of our centers. We are confident that, since this incident, the Foglia YMCA center has been thoroughly sanitized according to CDC guidelines and that there is no further risk to the Foglia YMCA community.
In an abundance of caution, the Foglia YMCA will perform a deep cleaning of the entire facility overnight using Virex, a high-grade disinfectant designed for healthcare facilities. We do not believe there is cause for alarm.
If you have further questions or concerns, please contact Tony Janca at [email protected]
COVID-19 Update: A message from YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago Leadership
March 9, 2020
Dear Y Community,
The health and safety of Y members is our top priority, and we are reaching out with an update on the coronavirus disease (also referred to as COVID-19). The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is actively monitoring the news and advisories concerning the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that our industry is considered a low risk category and should take the same basic precautions to prevent the spread of the virus as the common cold.
At the YMCA, the safety and wellness of our members and participants is very important to us. We are constantly monitoring this evolving situation and following the guidelines of the CDC in all of our locations and work spaces to keep our members and staff safe. This includes:
- Expanding our cleaning protocols to ensure we use products, such as Virex, that has been found to be effective against viruses.
- Ensuring there are ample hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes throughout our facilities for your use. Your partnership in this effort is welcome, and your continued use of the sanitizing wipes that are provided to wipe down all equipment — mats, benches, free weights, cardio and strength machines, etc. — before and after you use them, is appreciated.
- Disinfecting supplies and toys daily.
- Regularly refining and updating plans in place for various situations and circumstances regarding the spread of the virus as new information becomes available, and learning as much as we can in order to make informed decisions.
As a reminder, it is always good practice for members, parents, and children, regardless of exposure risks, to adhere to the following preventative measures year round:
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Please stay home, or keep your child home if he/she is sick until at least 24 hours after any signs of a fever have gone (without the use of fever-reducing medications) or with the clearance from a healthcare provider.
- Consult your healthcare provider if you are concerned for your child or family member who is showing symptoms of an illness.
- If sick, restrict activities outside your home as much as possible. If you must leave home, cover your nose and mouth with a mask or cloth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
For additional information and FAQs on the novel coronavirus, visit the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html
As the news media continues to report on the spread of the novel coronavirus in the United States, I want to assure you that our intent in sharing this at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is to provide current and accurate information about the situation, and to offer pragmatic steps we all can take to keep our ourselves, children, and members healthy and safe. In the meantime, please be assured that we continue to enforce stringent hygiene and sanitation standards at all of our service sites and remain committed as ever to the well-being of the families we serve.
Also, please be reminded that the virus is not distinguishable by race or nationality. Creating any kind of stigma around those who have contracted the disease is not only discriminatory but it is also likely to discourage early reporting and hinder efforts to limit its spread.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to Member Services.
President and Chief Executive Officer
YMCA OF METROPOLITAN CHICAGO