Now Open! Review our protocols.

The following message was shared with Y members on Thursday, June 4, 2020. If you would like to receive these messages via email when sent, please contact Vicky McCafferty at vmccafferty@gbymca.org.

We are excited to reopen our Greater Burlington YMCA facilities on June 8 and welcome you back! 

Our shared commitment must be to keep our Y members and staff safe and protected. This requires that all of us follow clear guidelines set by the State of Vermont and the CDC. The State has created a set of protocols for a phased reopening of fitness facilities, an approach that mirrors our efforts as we prepared over the past few weeks.

We have created this video that conveys many of the key points and with this letter we provide a more detailed explanation of protocols and measures we are taking during Phase 1. Please review this list carefully to help ensure as smooth an experience as possible upon your return.

Phase 1 Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday: 7 am – 1 pm and 3 pm – 8 pm

Saturday: 8 am – 4 pm

Sunday: Closed

Phase 1 Protocols

General Facility:

  • Everyone will enter the building via the College Street (south) entrance and exit from north end of the lobby.
  • Members and staff will have their temperature checked and answer a few questions before entering the facility as part of a health screening.
  • Members must bring and wear their own masks. Masks are required to enter facility, during health screening, at check-in, and in all common areas. Masks are recommended but not required while participating in cardio activities.
  • Members must maintain a minimum 6 foot distance from each other.
  • New, strict building capacity limits are in effect. To help monitor capacity, members must scan in and scan out at the front desk.
  • All payment transactions must be cash-less. A credit card machine will be available, and members will swipe their own cards.
  • To promote physical distancing, we will use the grand staircase to access the second floor and the west stairwell to return to the first floor.
  • Facility use will be limited to one hour to serve the maximum number of members each day. Please be respectful of this limit.
  • No Lockers in the facility are available for use.
  • All locker rooms — Women’s, Men’s, and Universal — will be closed.
  • Bring a sweat towel and water bottle. Water fountains are temporarily closed, but bottle-filling stations are open.
  • Members under age 18 may use the Wellness Area if they have previously completed orientation. No teen orientations will take place.
  • No guests will be permitted. Facility use will be for members only.
  • Drop-In Child Care is closed.

Aquatics:

  • Members must pre-register for a lane on our website for lap swimming. Reservation system will be open 48 hours prior to day of use.
  • Lap swimmers may bring a small bag and towel onto the pool deck. As noted above, no lockers or locker rooms will be available for use. Please arrive ready to swim.
  • Pool equipment is not available. If you would like to use a kick board, pull buoy, etc., please bring your own.
  • Your visit to our facility will be limited to the reserved time slot of 45 minutes.
  • Lap swimmers must shower on the pool deck before swimming.
  • The sauna and splash pad remain closed.
  • No family or open swim.
  • No aquatic group classes at this time.
  • During Phase 1, reservations will be taken for:
    • 4 lanes in our lap pool
    • 2 lanes in our program pool (warmer water, shorter lanes)
    • 1 lane in the program pool for walking or general aquatic exercise
  • To reserve a lane, click here.

Wellness:

  • Some cardio equipment is offline to facilitate physical distancing.
  • Members will be asked to wait if the Wellness area is at capacity.
  • Members must disinfect equipment before andafter use to enhance the cleaning also being performed by Y staff.
  • Common seating areas closed.
  • Turf area, studios, and track are closed.
  • Gymnasium is closed.
  • Group exercise classes continue virtually. More options coming soon!

There are a lot of new, temporary guidelines here, and we will help you get through this! Please know that you will continue to enjoy the welcoming environment that we always strive to provide, and we stand ready to support you in reaching your health and wellness goals.

We will adapt where it is safe to do so and is within State mandated guidelines — please watch our website for changes. Additionally, we will communicate in the future once we are permitted to shift into Phase 2 of our reopening plans.

[Added June 22] While we always intend for the information we provide to be informative and helpful, we recognize that some members may have questions about COVID-19 that are best addressed by health professionals. How can you can protect yourself (including how “close contact” is defined)? How does it spread? What are the symptoms? And more. To help you find answers, read what the Vermont Department of Health has provided in their COVID-19 FAQs by clicking here.

With appreciation to all of you who have stayed with us,

Kyle Dodson, President & CEO


The following message was shared with Y members on Friday, May 29, 2020. If you would like to receive these messages via email when sent, please contact Vicky McCafferty at vmccafferty@gbymca.org.

Dear Y Members,

We are excited by Governor Scott’s announcement today, setting a date for the reopening of fitness centers. We cannot wait to see our members again — we’ve missed you all so much during this time of isolation!

While the Governor’s announcement allows us to open as early as June 1, we have set Monday, June 8 as our reopening date. With limitations easing, we can now fully prepare our facility and our staff over the next week​. ​We will implement measures to ensure the safety of members​ in compliance with state directives. ​We will balance our excitement about reopening with the necessary prudence to ensure we welcome you back in a controlled and safe manner.

Stay tuned — ​next week, we will provid​e ​information via email and on our website ​detailing the experience you can expect upon your return.

Thank you for staying with us,

Kyle Dodson, President & CEO

The following message was shared with Y members on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. If you would like to receive these messages via email when sent, please contact Vicky McCafferty at vmccafferty@gbymca.org.

Dear Y Members,

I hope this finds you well. We miss you and we’re grateful for your strong response to our recent survey, which showed that members look forward to returning and expect that we will make changes at the Y to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

While our timeline for opening is not yet clear, we are beginning to see changes at the State level that make us optimistic. Allow me to update you on where the Y stands with our planning and when you can expect membership fees to restart.

When will the Y reopen?

One key signal we are awaiting is Governor Scott’s permission. Even with this green light, we will not reopen until we are sure that we have put in place protocols to keep members and staff safe. We are relying upon guidance from state and federal health officials, networks of industry professionals, and all other appropriate resources. It has been especially helpful for us to learn from the experience of other Ys around the country as they reopen.

What can I expect when the Y reopens?

You can expect significant changes to come in a “phased” approach—with rules loosened or tightened as the changing situation warrants. Examples of the protocols we are currently finalizing—measures that directly address the concerns that members mentioned most often in our survey—include:

  • Heightened standards and activity in cleaning, both during the day and overnight.
  • Increased availability of hand sanitizer and other cleaning materials, as well as protocols for cleaning equipment before and after use.
  • Staff who keep everyone as safe as possible by providing assistance and enforcing protocols.
  • A sign-up system to regulate the number of people using the facilities at any given time.
  • Temperature and health screening upon entrance.
  • Rules regarding mask usage, possibly changing as the situation develops.
  • Certain equipment kept offline to ensure social distancing.
  • Changes to group exercise to include location and class sizes.
  • Limitations on pool usage, as well as closure of the splash pad and sauna. (Note: We do not yet know if pools will be allowed to open at the same time as fitness facilities.)
  • Potential delay in opening drop-in member child care and new limits and procedures.
  • Limitations on the use of locker rooms, including the potential of opening in Phase 1 without locker rooms being available.
  • Suspension of guest passes, day passes, and Y Nationwide membership to ensure maximum availability to members.

These are examples of our plans given what we know today. Final plans, once set, will be posted in the facility and on our website as well as communicated through e-mail.

When will membership fees resume?

We did not charge fees for April and May. Many Ys continued to collect fees to help cover operating expenses, but we opted not to charge because of the financial uncertainty for families at this time. We heard from hundreds of our members who decided they could continue to pay, making their fees a donation. For that, we are grateful.

Our decision to temporarily suspend fees was not without hardship for our Y. From the moment the shutdown began, virtually every one of the Y’s revenue streams came to a complete stop. We applied for and received a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan that has helped us to pay our staff, but those funds only carry us through to May 31. Because reopening will be expensive and because some financial losses will not be replaced, some Y staff will be furloughed as of June 1. The furloughs would have to be much deeper if we couldn’t resume fees as we prepare to open.

While we don’t know exactly when we can reopen, the changes the State has allowed in business operations over the past few weeks leads us to anticipate that a modified reopening of the Y may be permitted in June. Preparing for this opening drives our decision to end our temporary suspension of fees. Membership fees will be charged in June on the date you would normally expect this charge to be drawn against the card or account we have on file. Members will be charged for half a month in June—except for those who generously offered for their credit to be turned into a donation, who will be charged for the full month.

The Greater Burlington YMCA has served our community for 154 years and we have emerged from numerous challenges with the support of our community. We find ourselves at a crucial tipping point and are faced with tough decisions to preserve an organization that has been an indispensable part of so many lives over this rich history. We recognize that the financial uncertainty for members has not passed but ask that you rally behind our beloved Y as we prepare to reopen our doors. Your fees are an important part of helping us to meet our present needs and ensure our future.

What about Y child care and summer camps?

The Governor has said that child care operations are permitted to reopen on June 1. It is our intention to resume operations at 298 College Street and our St. Albans location. Throughout the past two months, we have been operating an early childhood program on behalf of the UVM Medical Center and a school age program in Jericho for essential workers. Their experience will be invaluable in helping us move forward safely in service to additional families.

As for camps, we are awaiting further state guidance and will update families as soon as we know more.

The Heart of the Y

The Y will look different than it did when we closed in March; this is inevitable. What will be familiar will be the heart of the Y—staff and members driven by the shared goal of a healthy community and guided by our core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

Stay tuned, there is more to come. In the meantime, be well, stay safe, and know that supporting all of you is what drives us each day in our work to return to service of the community.

Be well,

Kyle Dodson, President & CEO

Staff Contacts:

Membership – laustin-hawley@gbymca.org

Communications – dbishop@gbymca.org

Donor Services – rblount@gbymca.org


The following message was shared with Y members and program participants on April 2, 2020:

Hello Y Members & Program Families,

We miss you! As these unusual times continue, allow me to touch base with an update and to connect with all of you. First, I will address a few questions you might have:

Am I being charged fees? Yesterday was the first of the month and normally many of you would see a charge on your account for membership dues or child care fees. However, as we previously shared, we will not be charging fees during the time that we remain closed. Many of you are faced with new economic realities and we did not want to add to your challenges. At the same time, we are grateful beyond words for those of you who have contacted us to say you wish to keep your membership going as a donation until we reopen. If you are interested, click here to learn more.

Will our child care spot be held without payment of fees?

At this time, we do not know when we will be able to reopen our child care facilities. We are following directives from the state and will reopen when we can do so responsibly. Please know that, currently, child care spots are being held though we are not collecting payment. We will communicate with you directly if anything should change.

When will the Y reopen? I would like nothing more than to have a date that I could share. But I simply cannot say with any certainty. The unpredictable nature of the virus, our collective efforts to “flatten the curve,” and the instructions provided by state and federal officials simply do not allow us to set a date. Rest assured, once it is safe to do so, we will be ready to welcome you back!

What about the upcoming session of swim lessons, youth programs, and adult fitness classes? The end of April was anticipated to be the start of the next session. That session is on hold until a reopening date is set. When we can, we will determine if we will run an abbreviated session or shift the session schedule for the year. Knowing that swim lessons in particular are an essential part of preparing for summer, we will set a schedule at the earliest possible date.

Are parts of the Y open/active? The Y has a longstanding relationship with the UVM Medical Center, operating an early childhood program for their employees. That program remains open, serving the children of essential workers. Additionally, Y afterschool staff are supporting programs for essential workers in two communities we normally serve. I am also heartened by the innovative steps that our swim coaches, Camp Abnaki staff, many early childhood teachers, and other staff are taking to provide “virtual” community and support for Y youth and families.

What resources are available to Y members during this closure? We have identified several online fitness opportunities, including YMCA360, that are available at no cost to members and the broader community. Additionally, we have put in one place other resources to help with staying safe and managing stress, food and cooking, and fun activities for adults and kids. We will continue to update this “Y Beyond Walls” page with fresh content. Click here to check it out.

Will Y summer camps run this year? The answer at this point is yes. While we will continue to monitor this evolving crisis, we want to remain optimistic that camps will open — both day and overnight camp. Kids will need an adventure close to home this summer and we hope to be able to provide that experience. Check out camp information by clicking here.

Beyond our classes, child care, camps, swim team, and other Y programs, the Y is about community. While we cannot gather in person to create that community at this time, we can stay connected. I see my Y colleagues working hard to do just that. What can we do as individuals? Is there is someone you have being thinking about calling or emailing? A neighbor you could check in on? Why wait? Reach out! At a time when we must socially distance, it is more important than ever that we remain emotionally close.

I read this quote recently: “Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.” (Elie Wiesel) The resilience, fortitude, and commitment that I am seeing during this crisis gives me great hope.

Be safe, stay well, and remain hopeful.

Kyle Dodson, President & CEO


The following message was shared with Y members and program participants on Wednesday, March 25, 2020:

Dear Y Community Members, 

All of us at the Y hope that you are healthy, safe, and connected as part of a community – virtual or otherwise – that is providing you strength. We want to be part of your network of support. 

Reopening Date Uncertain 

Many of you may be asking “When will the Y reopen? Well, a lot has changed since our initial decision to temporarily close our doors. While we would like nothing more than to provide a firm date for our reopening, the truth is that we find ourselves in dynamic and evolving situation. We are rapidly adjusting to the situation and to variables such as orders and recommendations by local, state, and federal officials. We are currently under orders from the Governor to keep our health and wellness facility closed even while we provide child care offsite for essential health workers.  

What I can tell you is that as soon as we can responsibly open, we will. We simply don’t yet know when that will be. Please watch for future communications like this and updates on our website. In the meantime, during this closure we will not be making any new charges against accounts for any ongoing membership or program fees, except for those who have offered to continue paying as a donation. 

Information and Resources 

We are doing what we can to contribute in this time of international sacrifice: caring for the children of health care and other essential workers, providing the community access to free video workouts and other resources, and more. To connect with the online resources we have compiledclick hereThere you’ll find the latest resources collected from our network of national and local sources. 

If you would like to read more about the Y’s response and our challenges, or if you want to know what you can do to help, click here. Iis inspiring to us that so many people have reached out to the Y and to other charities offering support. 

A History of Strength 

Yes, these are unsettling times. But the Y itself has risen to countless challenges since our founding in Burlington in 1866. With the community’s help, we rebuilt from a fire in the Great Depression. Amidst the shared sacrifice of World War II, the national Y helped found the USO for our troops—including at our site. Together, we have been and will remain Y Strong. 

Our Wish for You 

Please take care of yourself and those you love. Find community where you can. Know that you are part of a strong and vibrant community. And look for the rays of light—the kind acts, the sacrifice of those who serve others, the words of hope. 

Be well, 

Kyle Dodson, President & CEO


The following message was shared with Y members and program participants on Tuesday, March 17, 2020:

Dear Y Members and Program Families,

This update includes changes in how we will handle membership and program fees amidst the current COVID-19 crisis.

Payments and credits

In a quickly evolving situation, we are learning every day. We have reconsidered how best to serve our Y community when it comes to fees for suspended services:

  • Our members have paid for a full month of Y membership, yet we closed our doors on the 17th. We have now decided that, we will provide a credit of two weeks to all Y member accounts. We don’t yet know when we’ll be reopening or exactly when the credits will be applied; we ask for patience as we work through all of this.
  • There will be no additional membership fees processed until we re-open our facility.
  • If you have paid for a special program (swim lessons, ballet, gymnastics, TRX), a credit will be applied to your account and we will look forward to serving you when we reopen our doors.

We apologize for any confusion this change creates. It did our hearts good to hear from members who said that they wanted their membership to continue no matter how long we remain closed. But we also had to consider members of the community for whom this is a hardship.

How we are supporting the community

At present, our focus is on taking care of the children of health care workers at our University of Vermont Medical Center child care program.

Keeping fit while keeping safe

It’s more important than ever that the Y find ways to keep our community healthy and connected. While we can’t serve you in person at our new facility, we can offer the whole community free access to a new service: YMCA 360: Your Virtual YMCA.

YMCA 360 is the work of the YMCA network. This is a free, virtual resource. There is no login needed and please share this link with your friends. We will look to identify resources like this that we can share with our members and the broader community.

We know you have a lot of questions. While we do not have answers to all of your questions, we will work to provide you what we know when we know it. We will find our way through this. Our community is strong. Together, we will remain so.

Be well,

Kyle Dodson, President & CEO


The following message was shared with Y members and program participants on Monday, March 16, 2020:

Dear Y Community,

The Greater Burlington YMCA has made the decision to temporarily suspend operation, with one exception. As with other local, state, and national organizations, we take this step to join the effort to limit the community spread of COVID-19. So, what does this mean?

  • The Y facility is closed to members effective immediately and will remain closed until April 1st. We will reevaluate that date as more information becomes available.
  • Our early childhood programs at our downtown Burlington and St. Albans locations will close as of the end of the day tomorrow, Tuesday, and remain closed until April 1st.
  • As of the end of the day tomorrow, Tuesday, Y before/afterschool programs will remain closed through April 6th to coincide with the school closures set by the Governor. The exception will be our Burlington program that is closed effective immediately.
  • There is one exception to the suspension of operations. The Y operates an early childhood program in Winooski on behalf of the UVM Medical Center. To serve that vital workforce, that program will remain open at this time.

We do not take this step lightly, knowing that the Y serves as an invaluable resource for improved health, child care, community, and more. Across the country, YMCA’s play a vital role. As the Y’s national President Kevin Washington has said, “We bring people together and create personal connections. . . But the nature of this virus, and how it spreads, presents significant challenges to how we deliver our mission and strengthen community.”

I agree with Mr. Washington and many leaders in our community that we have reached a point in our collective efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 where the risks of remaining open outweigh the benefits. I have great confidence in the steps we have taken to provide members, program participants, visitors, and staff a safe environment. However, the most prudent course is to take the more proactive step to temporarily suspend operations.

We speak frequently about our core values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility. In difficult times, we can always fall back on these values when faced with challenging decisions. In this instance, it has become clear the decision we share with you today aligns with these immutable values.

We know that our decision to temporarily close will raise many questions. We will do our best to address these questions as they are received but ask for your patience as the volume may be quite high. It may be some time before we can respond to individual questions. If we start to see frequently asked questions, we will look to provide a response on a wide scale, either through a mass e-mail such as this or from a link under the “What’s new at the Y” section of our website.

One question we know many of you may have relates to your membership fee. The Greater Burlington Y is a non-profit that operates on a narrow margin. We offer membership and programs at the most affordable prices possible and provide over $400,000 in financial assistance annually to ensure these services are available to all. Despite being closed, we have ongoing expenses. As it would challenge our organization, we will not be providing partial refunds for membership dues for the balance of March. These are extraordinary times and we hope that you understand this plan. If the temporary suspension of operations at our fitness/aquatics/gym facility is anticipated to continue past April 1st, we will be reevaluating our membership payment policies.

For those who have paid fees associated with a session-based program, such as swim lessons or youth programs, you will be hearing from us in the coming days. If you are receiving this email as a member, but are also an early childhood family or before/afterschool family, you will be receiving a separate email today that will set out more information regarding program fees.

These are unprecedented times, but it is our collective work and our shared commitment to one another that will see us through. Please take care of yourself, your family, and those around you during these challenging times.

Be well,

Kyle Dodson, President & CEO

To help keep you informed, please allow us to provide the following links:

Centers for Disease ControlClick here.

Vermont Department of HealthClick here.

University of Vermont Medical CenterClick here.

World Health OrganizationClick here.

 


 

The following message was shared with Y members and program participants on Tuesday, March 10, 2020:

Dear Y Members & Program Participants,

At the Greater Burlington YMCA, we take your health and safety very seriously. Vermont has now seen its first case of COVID-19, and Y leadership has come together to review our strategies to keep our members and staff healthy.

We understand people may worry about the new Coronavirus. Risk is dependent on exposure. The most recent “Situation Summary” from the Center for Disease Control notes that while some may face an elevated risk, “For the majority of people, the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be low. There is not widespread circulation in most communities in the United States.”

Those for whom risk is considered elevated are: those who live in places where there is an ongoing community spread of the virus; healthcare workers caring for COVID-19 patients; those who have close contact with persons with COVID-19; and travelers returning from affected international locations.

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.

Additional precautions taken at our facility to combat the spread of germs include the following:

  • This week, we are making a change to the wipes made available to members and staff for the cleaning of equipment, yoga mats, etc. to ones that have an even higher degree of saturation of the ingredients needed to kill viruses and bacteria.
  • We have great confidence in the company that provides the overnight cleaning of the facility. Of their own accord, two weeks ago they put in place a heightened cleaning protocol that will be maintained for the foreseeable future.
  • You may have noticed that hand sanitizer dispensers have been positioned at both the north and south entry points to our lobby.
  • You will soon see signage — both digital and print — in our facility that encourage hygiene habits that will help fight the spread of the virus.

Additionally, we will continue to monitor best practices being implemented YMCA’s across the country, carefully follow advice from the Vermont Department of Health, and stay up-to-date with all relevant information.

You may ask what steps you can take. Basic hygiene is the best thing you can do. Everyone should always take simple daily precautions – whether here at the Y, at home, at work, or elsewhere — to help prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses:

  • We are asking all members to clean equipment BEFORE and AFTER workouts, with the wipes that we provide.
  • Stay home when you’re sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently and 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.
  • Regularly and thoroughly clean surfaces, such as counter tops and doorknobs, with a disinfectant.

If you have questions, please feel free reach out to me at kdodson@gbymca.org.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

 

 

 

Kyle Dodson, President & CEO

To help keep you informed, please allow us to provide the following links:

Centers for Disease Control:  Click here.

Vermont Department of Health:  Click here.

University of Vermont Medical Center:  Click here.

World Health Organization:  Click here.



GREATER BURLINGTON YMCA LOCATIONS

Pomerleau Family Y
298 College Street
Burlington, VT 05401
802 862 9622 (YMCA)

Camp Abnaki
1252 Abnaki Road
North Hero, VT
802 372 9622 (YMCA)

Additional Program Sites
in Vermont

Franklin, Grand Isle, Washington and Chittenden Counties