COVID-19 Updates

As new announcements are made regarding the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley's response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, they will be posted below (with most recent communications listed on top).

April 1, 2020 - Important Membership Information from our CEO:

As a member of the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley, you are part of a movement to strengthen the foundations of our community. For nearly 140 years our goal has always been, and will continue to be, to fulfill the needs of those we serve. That remains especially true today.

 

In a moment when you may be feeling helpless in the face of our common health crisis, the Y is working to give you and our community a sense of shared purpose. Although our facilities are currently closed due to the crisis, our staff have been busy providing childcare to essential personnel, deep cleaning our facilities, managing virtual resources on social media and working with other agencies to band together to provide help in the battle against COVID-19. We're asking you to #stickwiththeY and maintain your membership to help support the programs and services we're still conducting to meet the needs of the moment and sustain us to be there for when we are able to open back up again.

 

If you can stick with the YMCA, please do so and thank you for that support. Your continued monthly draft during this time will be considered a donation and when normal operations resume, your donation will end and revert back to your regular membership. The YMCA will provide a tax receipt of your charitable donation prior to year-end.

 

However, we also understand people’s lives have been impacted in significant ways and not everyone has the capacity to continue their membership dues. If you cannot, let us know if you could do a $10 or $5 a month hold fee, which will hold your membership but at a lesser option. If you can’t do either of these, let us know that and we will place your membership on hold for no charge and we hope to see you back when you’re able.

 

If you decide to change your membership or go to a hold status, please let us know as soon as possible. We’re open for calls during business hours between 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday. You can call the front desk at Eau Claire YMCA 715-836-8460 or Chippewa Falls YMCA at 715-723-2201 to ask to place your membership on hold or send an email to customerservice@ymca-cv.org with your name, address, first names of those on the membership and your decision. The YMCA will be able to assist you.

We have had several supporters who have donated online to help additionally. If you are able to do so, thank you. You can click here to donate what you can to support our continued service. 

 

Please stay safe and as active you can at this time. Physical movement goes a long way to helping us through this crisis. Our Y360 videos and Facebook posts are available on our website and social media pages for you no matter what your decision. We look forward to the day when we all can join back together in a physical space but until then, we’re here in spirit for you to the best of our ability.

 

Theresa Hillis

Chief Executive Officer

 

March 20, 2020 - A letter to our members from our CEO:

Dear Y members,

 
The Y of the Chippewa Valley hopes you can continue your membership! 
 
Our entire community is coming to terms with the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are navigating what short- and long-term impacts it will have in the Chippewa Valley and our own lives.

Here at the Y, while our facilities are closed for membership and programs, we are still operating child care programs for children ages birth-8 years in accordance with the Governor’s directives.  We will keep our child care programs open for those who have nowhere else to turn and those who are working in emergency, medical or other vital services.

Right now, except for child care services, program revenue is non-existent. The Y continues to pay rather significant fixed costs until we return to normal operations.

The Y needs your membership now even more than ever. Without it, our future is deeply uncertain. The Y is funded primarily through membership and program fees. As those disappear, so will the Y.
 
I am deeply proud of our team and of the resilience they have shown through this unprecedented crisis. Now I am asking for your help, too. The single biggest way for us to maintain stability is for you to maintain your Y membership through this crisis. Your membership fees would count as a charitable contribution for the period of time that we’re closed.

If you are a Silver Sneaker or Silver & Fit participant, please view one of our online fitness classes (www.eauclaireymca.org and www.chippewaymca.com) and then call or email the YMCA (Chippewa Falls: 715-723-2201, Eau Claire: 715-836-8460 or customerservice@ymca-cv.org) as we can still get credit for every visit you log in with.
 
Here is the reality of where we at this moment. We are a completely independent, locally-run, non-profit organization. We receive no funding from the national YMCA.

  • The temporary closure of our 5 facilities located in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and New Auburn, along with our over 17 school-based afterschool sites, has forced us to furlough great people including fitness instructors, front desk attendants, youth sports staff, lifeguards and swim instructors, afterschool staff, and many more you know and love.

  • Our leadership team is working around the clock to regroup and to preserve the guts of our operation for the long term, much less the next few weeks. Our intent is to bring back as many of our furloughed associates as possible, as soon as possible, but that all depends on how long this goes on and whether we have any resources left.

  • We are working closely with local and state agencies to keep our child care staff working. We are operating within strict licensing standards, consistently cleaning and sanitizing, and taking other precautions so our parents who work in necessary and vital services continue to have a safe place to put their children during the day. If you have friends, neighbors or coworkers who are in need of child care services, please contact our Child Care Team at the Chippewa Falls YMCA (715-723-5135) or the Eau Claire YMCA (715-836-8460).

If you’ve enjoyed all that the Y offers and brings to your family life in the past and look forward to returning to the Y you love, if at all possible, I hope you will please continue your membership. I say this fully aware of the fact that this situation has also impacted your family and very likely your work life as well.

Since the closure, we have been sharing on-line resources for staying healthy and active at home, including virtual group exercise classes, resources for kids and families, and babysitting and Youth Home Alone classes. Please look for those on your local Y’s Facebook page and look for updates on our websites.
 
Our members mean the world to us. Thank you for your participation in the Y now and always. Please stay safe and healthy.

Theresa Hillis

Chief Executive Officer

March 16, 2020 - Closure announcement from our CEO

To our Members and Supporters,

 

In a rapidly changing environment with government announcements of closures of schools, businesses and an increased need to protect our community, the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley has been striving to continue to do what we’ve done for nearly 140 years, to be there for people. We have been there in times of crisis before and we will continue to do so moving forward. Currently, we serve nearly 21,000 people in the Chippewa Valley.

As we continue to take action to minimize the risk to our YMCA community and members of the public, we have an important announcement. Due to today’s federal recommendation announced at the President’s news conference, at the end of business on Monday, March 16, our YMCA wellness centers, pools and programs will be closed through the anticipated school opening on April 6, with the exception of YMCA Child Care.  It is probable that this date might change as we learn more on the fight against community spread of coronavirus.

 

Child Care: To help mitigate the spread and risk of exposure of COVID-19, WI Governor Evers announced the closure of all schools (kindergarten to grade 12), effective the end of day on Wednesday, March 18. The ECASD announced they will be closing earlier at the end of the day today. Chippewa Falls schools will close at the end of the day tomorrow.

 

At this time, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is recommending that all Child Care programs remain open as a vital resource for many first responders, health care workers and families who cannot find care elsewhere. As result, both YMCA Early Learning Centers will remain open and YMCA Schools Out programs for elementary children will be held at the Chippewa Falls YMCA and the L.E. Phillips Indoor Sports Center in Eau Claire.

 

We are closely working with community leaders and will continue to communicate with you on when we will reopen. In the meantime, we hope that you continue to invest in your membership so that we can maintain vital life-changing at the Y. We know your membership is meaningful to you and is based upon how much you care about our community. We hope you can continue to support the Y through this crisis, so we are ready to meet those emergency needs, and continue to support all who need us once life returns to normal. To make a donation to support our continued work in our community, you can give online for use in Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls. Thank you for your support as we work diligently to ensure the health and safety of our community.

 

To support your health and wellbeing goals we are offering Y360, an exciting new YMCA on-demand fitness program for adults and kids to do at home. You and your family can exercise together and have some fitness fun! Soon, additional content for kids and families will be added. You can access it today at Y360 On-Demand.

 

In times of crisis, it is important that we work together to support each other. The YMCA stands ready to do that in any way we can. Let us pray that we all be given wisdom, strength and courage in the coming days and weeks.

 

With a heavy heart,

 

Theresa Hillis

Chief Executive Officer

 

March 13, 2020 - Letter to all Afterschool Child Care Families

 

Dear Parents and Guardians,

 

The YMCA is committed to the health and safety of our children, staff and families. With the rapidly changing environment in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, we are experiencing staff shortages due to university closings and health precautions with our older staff who are at-risk.

 

Due to these factors, beginning Monday, March 16th we are moving the Chippewa after school program to the Chippewa YMCA facility site (611 Jefferson Ave, Chippewa Falls). At this time, we can no longer staff the programs at our local schools. We are working on transportation issues with the bus company and should have more information for you Monday.

 

Due to health concerns, our health policy will be strictly enforced. Individuals who meet any of the following criteria must refrain from entering our childcare program: 

  1. Anyone whose family members have traveled to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 2 or 3 travel designation (currently South Korea, Iran, Italy, China, Japan) within the last 14 days.

  2. Have had contact with any Persons under Investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, OR with anyone with known COVID-19.

  3. Anyone having any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath).

 

We apologize for the last minute announcement to our families. As you know, it is a rapidly changing environment and there might be further changes coming depending on local, state and federal announcements. We will be communicating this via email and with notices posted on our website and Facebook page.

 

We appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time. We will continue to provide updates as we receive information.

 

Sincerely,

Caroline Wee

Association Childcare Services Director

March 13, 2020 - Letter to all Early Learning Center Families:

 

Dear YMCA – Early Learning Community Families,

 

The health and safety of our children, families and staff are very important to us. We are formulating a contingency plan to make sure we are able to continue care as long as possible and/or have a plan in place if more serious conditions occur. With the possibilities of school districts closing, we are aware of the even more overwhelming need of childcare.

 

We are doing our part to keep our center clean and sanitary during this time. The YMCA has added more sanitizer stations throughout the building, including in childcare. We will be disinfecting our toys, shelves and classrooms in a more frequent manner. As always, we remain diligent on washing hands, cleaning and sanitizing. 

 

Due to the health concerns, our health policy will be more strictly enforced. This means that we will be asking that children be picked up and brought home if symptoms of even minor illness appear.

 

As many of you know, UWEC has decided to shut down classes. Many of our staff members are college students at UW-Eau Claire and other colleges. With the closing of campuses, some of our staff are choosing to return home to their families. It is very possible we may experience staff shortages during this time. For the time being, we have the staff we require to provide care to all our families. If we reach a point where a staff shortage is a possibility, we ask that families who have the ability to keep children home to please do so. Any volunteered absence will not be charged for care.

 

We will continue with communication regarding any changes or plans being implemented. If staff shortages begin to occur, certain actions will need to be taken to make sure we are complying with licensing to provide safe care for our children. 

 

The YMCA Early Learning Centers will remain open as long as we can assure the safety of the children in our program. We thank you for your patience in this difficult time as we navigate new obstacles. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

 

Sincerely,

Caroline Wee

Association Childcare Director

 

 

March 6, 2020 - Letter to all Members:

 

Dear YMCA Members,

 

At the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley, we take your health and safety very seriously. The respiratory illness COVID-19 has now reached the United States. When a serious health issue arises, our staff team comes together to reassess our strategies to keep our members and staff healthy.

 

We understand people may worry about the new Coronavirus. In today’s connected world, an outbreak anywhere can be a risk everywhere. Risk is dependent on exposure. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers COVID-19 a serious situation and advises taking preparedness measures. Currently, the best way to protect our health and well-being is to practice the same basic hygiene that we do for flu season. Everyone should always take simple daily precautions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap or use a hand sanitizer that contains alcohol.

  • Sneeze and cough into tissues. If you get mucus or spit on your skin, clean it off right away. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, especially people exhibiting respiratory symptoms and fever.

  • Stay home when you’re sick.

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs, with a disinfectant.

 

The coronavirus is spread through respiratory vapor, such as when someone sneezes or coughs into the air around you. Influenza viruses and common cold viruses are also spread this way. More information about the Coronavirus can be found at www.cdc.gov

 

At the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley, these are some precautions and actions that we are initiating:

 

  • We are asking members who may be ill with any contagious condition (i.e. fever) to stay home and return to the Y when they are feeling better.

  • As has been the policy, children in our Early Learning Centers, School-Age Child Care and Kids Care programs are required to stay out of programs a minimum of 24 hours after being deemed symptom free.

  • Additional hand sanitizer stations will be available to all. We will also make more antibacterial wipes available throughout the branches and at our off-site locations.

  • We are asking all members to use the disinfectant products we provide to clean equipment BEFORE and AFTER workouts.

  • Staff will be cleaning doorknobs, light switches, countertops, equipment, handles, weights, etc. regularly.

 

In this time pf preparedness, we are trying our best to think ahead. If you think of something that can help or have questions, please contact your program or branch director directly to help us do better together.

 

Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

 

Theresa Hillis, CEO

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The YMCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to building strong kids, strong families and strong communities.