YMCA Closure Updates

The following message was shared with Y members and program participants on Thursday, April 2, 2020. If you would like to receive these messages via email when sent, please contact Vicky McCafferty at vmccafferty@gbymca.org.

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