LAKEWOOD, Ohio — They’ve been cleaning every chance they get, wiping down toys and tables and everything in between.
"We’ve learned how to do this safely, we know how to clean and sanitize,” said Ana Thomas, the Vice President of Youth Development for the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.
That’s not all the folks at the Lakewood YMCA and all other YMCAs in our region have been doing.
"We have new check-in procedures so when young people come in, they get their temperatures taken, there’s some questions that we ask,” said Thomas.
Okay, but what about actually keeping kids socially distant? Thomas says they’ve got that down-pat, too.
"So often times in typical programming you’ll see marks on the floor where young people should be in line for a water fountain or be in line to use the restroom, and we’ve just transferred those skills over to where your body should be in a gym, where your body should be when you’re working on blocks, so that we’re really encouraging that social distancing with visual cues,” she said.
They use cones to help the children see where they should stand in line and hula hoops to help them play safely. Kids sit inside the hoop and build with blocks or whatever they choose.
Life at the Y has done a complete 180 and Thomas says this only proves they are ready to expand enrollment.
"We know how to keep young people safe, we’ve learned over the past seven plus weeks how to have young people in our building,” she said.
Right now, instead of their usual 850 children throughout the entire Greater Cleveland YMCA, they can only serve 50. In Lakewood, their capacity is now twelve. Thomas says it’s a financial burden and parents need them to expand enrollment.
Thomas said they are seeing demand from "two-parent working households, single moms saying 'I’m desperate, my supervisor, my organization, is telling me I have to physically be back in the office and I need my kid to be somewhere safe.'"
Governor Mike DeWine hasn’t made any announcements about when daycares and community centers can fully reopen.