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Coronavirus: Tampa Bay’s YMCAs offering childcare for healthcare, first-responders

Who will watch the kids of those dealing with the coronavirus pandemic? The YMCA says it’s got a solution.
Th Bardmoor YMCA on 8/4/2014 at 8295 Bryan Dairy Road, Seminole. [TIMES (2014) | Tampa Bay Times]

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UPDATE (April 1, 2020): Youth Relief Care for Essential Workers tuition is now $10 a day thanks to donations from YMCA members and Florida Blue. To read the latest story, click here.

Across Tampa Bay, healthcare professionals, caregivers, firefighters and police officers are grappling with coronavirus crisis.

So while they work to keep the community healthy, who’s watching their kids?

The YMCA is repurposing 20 closed locations across the region into childcare facilities for up to 2,400 children of first-responders and medical professionals. The locations closed on Tuesday to the public.

“It’s a stressful time, so we need to try to provide as much relief to those who take care of us," said David W. Jezek, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg.

The Youth Relief Care for Essential Workers program is not intended for all children, said Lalita Llerena, senior communications director for the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA. First priority will be given to children whose family members work as police officers and firefighters, or at area hospitals. The YMCA is reaching out to partner organizations, such as BayCare and Advent Health, to find healthcare professionals who need the service.

The childcare date are scheduled for March 23 to 27, March 30 to April 3, April 6 to 10 and April 13 to 15. Additional programming may added in the coming weeks.

Most of the daylong camps can accommodate school age children, though ages vary across locations. Each week costs $125. Financial aid is available for parents who cannot pay.

To achieve social distancing, the YMCA is following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines by maintaining a ratio of one staffer to 10 campers. Children will be able to play games outside and participate in arts and crafts. They’ll also learn hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. To minimize spread of germs, rooms will be sanitized at the end of each day.

For more information, call one of the following locations:

  • Jim & Heather Gills YMCA - 727.328.9622
  • Bardmoor YMCA - 727.394.9622
  • Childs Park YMCA - 727.209.9622
  • YMCA at Lealman Exchange - 727.895.9622 ext. 4102

Childcare Locations

Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA

Camps at these locations run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Participants at these location will receive daily breakfast and lunch provided by the Hillsborough County School District.

  • Bob Gilbertson Central City Family YMCA, 110 E Palm Ave., Tampa.
  • Bob Sierra North Tampa YMCA Youth and Family Center, 4015 Ragg Road, Tampa.
  • Campo Family YMCA, 3414 Culbreath Road, Valrico.
  • East Pasco Family YMCA, 37301 Chapel Hill Loop, Zephyrhills.
  • New Tampa Family YMCA, 16221 Compton Dr., Tampa.
  • North Brandon Family YMCA, 3805 59th St. W, Bradenton.
  • Northwest Hillsborough Family YMCA, 8950 W Waters Ave., Tampa.
  • Plant City Family YMCA, 1507 YMCA Place, Plant City.
  • South Tampa Family YMCA, S Himes Ave., Tampa.
  • Spurlino Family YMCA at Big Bend Road, 9650 Old Big Bend Rd, Riverview.
  • YMCA Camp Cristina, 9840 Balm Riverview Road, Riverview.

YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg

Camps at these locations run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. These four locations are taking extra precautions. In the mornings, parents will be asked if their children have a new cough, sore throat, shortness of breath or fever. Children will also have their temperature taken, and those running a temperature over 100 degrees will not be able to attend.

  • Jim & Heather Gills YMCA, 3200 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg.
  • Bardmoor YMCA, 8495 Bryan Dairy Road, St. Petersburg.
  • YMCA at Lealman Exchange, 5175 45th St. N, St. Petersburg.

YMCA of the Suncoast

Camps at these locations from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Citrus Memorial Health Foundation YMCA, 127 W Norvell Bryant Highway, Lecanto.
  • Clearwater YMCA, 1005 S Highland Ave., Clearwater.
  • James P. Gills Family YMCA, 8411 Photonics Drive, New Port Richey.
  • Greater Palm Harbor YMCA, 1600 16th St., Palm Harbor.
  • High Point YMCA, 5345 Laurel Place, Clearwater.
  • North Pinellas YMCA, 4550 Village Center Drive, Palm Harbor.
  • Greater Ridgecrest YMCA, 1801 119th St. N, Largo.

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Tampa Bay Times coronavirus coverage

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