WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The Wilkes-Barre YMCA Child Care Center is open for families with “essential” workers.
“I don’t think anybody knows what tomorrow brings, what the next week brings, what the next month brings, but we’re taking it one day at a time trying to take care of the kids we have today and do a good job,” said Jim Thomas, CEO of the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA.
On Monday, Governor Tom Wolf ordered all child care centers licensed by the Commonwealth to close as part of a statewide coronavirus mitigation effort, but some parents are not able to stay at home to care for their kids.
“Doctors, nurses, first responders, anybody who is deemed essential,” said Jennifer Brennan, director of Education and Child Care Services for the Wilkes-Barre Family YMCA.
The Wilkes-Barre YMCA was granted a waiver from the temporary closure by the Department of Human Services’ Office of Child Development and Early Learning to keep their daycare center and part-day program for school-aged kids open.
“They need somewhere safe to be, that’s gonna keep them happy, safe, fed, entertained in the time of crisis while their parents are out there fighting the fight,” Brennan said.
Brennan adds before the shutdown of daycare facilities, the programs had about 70 children. Now, they have 35 kids.
Concerns about coronavirus has led to many day-to-day routine changes that can be stressful for kids. That’s why the YMCA programs are trying to keep things normal.
“They get to swim. They’re using the gymnasium. They’re playing with the toys. We on our end not to panic anybody, are doing all the cleaning and sanitizing,” Brennan said.