Coronavirus Information and Updates

Working Together Against the Coronavirus Challenges

The Greater Augusta Family YMCA is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone who enters our doors. There are growing concerns about the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), and in an effort to keep you and your family healthy and prevent the spread of germs, we are sharing some important information as we work together to stay as well and safe as possible during these critical times.

UPDATE March 31

When you became a member of the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta, you became part of a movement and mission to strengthen the foundations of our community. For more than 160 years our goal has always been, and will continue to be, to fulfill the needs of those we serve. That remains especially true today.
 
Although our facilities are currently closed until further notice from medical authorities, we certainly have not “closed shop.” Our staff have been busy deep cleaning our facilities, providing childcare to essential personnel, hosting food drive-throughs and providing grab-and-go meals for anyone under 18, talking with members about membership options and developing virtual resources on social media.
 
Please understand we will re-open our branches as soon as we are given permission. Telephone lines are open at your local branch Monday-Friday from 9 am – 12 pm to discuss your membership options. View branch phone numbers here.

A nurse receiving flowers from her two children

Parents using our Essential Personnel Childcare program received flowers provided by Ladybug’s Flowers from their children to thank them for protecting our community. Read the story here.

This program offers free childcare to partnering agencies, including all major hospitals in the CSRA and local governments. Essential Personnel Childcare is available at 4 of our branches: Aiken County Family YMCA, Burke County Family YMCA, North Augusta Family YMCA and Wilson Family YMCA.

YMCA 360 video screenshot

Our staff have developed a library of virtual workouts on social media, as well as countless other virtual member experience videos, including crafts, cooking classes, story times and other family-friendly videos.
 
We have also launched YMCA 360, a growing database of online videos for you and your family. At-home workouts are also available through Les Mills On Demand.
 

Several of our branches have helped feed our community. Thomson and Steiner Branch partnered with Golden Harves Food Bank to host no-contact, drive-through Mobile Markets. Many branches have also given out grab-and-go bags with breakfast and lunch for anyone under 18-years-old. Read the story about Thomson’s food distribution here.

 

UPDATE March 27 #StickWithTheY

 Dear YMCA Family,
 
We know that you may be disappointed our YMCA branches are not currently open and that is for everyone’s safety. We hope to see you back very soon.  It is important you know your YMCA is staying focused on our mission of meeting the needs of the community and are doing just that in two very essential and necessary ways.
  1. In cooperation with every major hospital in the CSRA, we are providing free childcare for healthcare workers, first responders and essential personnel. It is our duty and privilege to help take care of these families as they work around the clock to take care of us.

  2. We are also meeting the needs of those families and people with food shortages. We’ve partnered with Golden Harvest Food Bank to provide boxes of emergency meals. In addition, we have locations throughout the CSRA where we are providing “grab and go” breakfast and lunch for children up to the age of 18.
Although our facilities are currently closed until further notice from medical authorities, we certainly have not “closed shop.” Our YMCA staff miss seeing you in our facilities and in the classes you have grown accustomed to attending. To help you stay active, your favorite instructors have developed a library of virtual workouts. These are posted frequently on social media. Our staff have also created countless other virtual member experience videos for you and your family members. These include craft ideas, cooking classes, story times and other family-friendly videos.  
 
Please understand we will re-open our branches as soon as we are given permission. In the meantime, we will continue to communicate with you through our social media platforms. Major updates will be posted on our website and vial social media every Tuesday and Friday.  At this time, all program and events are cancelled and postponed until April 10th. Telephone lines are open at your local branch Monday-Friday from 9 am – Noon. View branch phone numbers here.
 
We don’t know how many times we can hear “unprecedented” and “never seen before” as we are all adjusting to the times we are in right now. During this COVID-19 pandemic, we ask you to stay with us, your Y family, so we can continue to provide these critical services to our community.
 
We need you to “stick with the Y.” #stickwiththey
 
We truly understand during this difficult time that some of you may not be able to keep your membership active. In that instance, we are more than willing to put your membership on hold. Please contact your home branch to learn about options if you need to make an adjustment to your monthly dues. We want to leave you with two final thoughts.
 
First, during difficult times we tend to forget that we serve an amazing God and he is still in control. He already knows what tomorrow holds and we will come out of this soon and be stronger for what we have learned. We think we will appreciate the small things we sometimes take for granted even more.
 
Second, pray! Prayer makes a difference and all of us need to ask for God’s will to be done and for the physical and financial health of our country and our world to return, so we are asking for our YMCA families to pray together at noon each day and create a prayer tsunami and show our God how much we love him!
 
We want to thank you for being a member of our local Family YMCA. We trust you are proud to be a part of a 162-year legacy here in the CSRA and we look forward to our next chapter together. As the CEO and President and our Chairman of the Executive Board and from all our staff, we look forward to the day soon when we can serve you in person and continue to help you grow healthier in spirit, mind and body. We are incredibly grateful for your support and trust you know that you are truly making a difference.

Danny McConnell
President/CEO

Gregory Francisco, Ph.D.
Chair, The Family Y Board
President/CVO Child Development Academy

UPDATE March 20: Our Community Outreach

When you became a member of the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta, you became part of a movement and mission to strengthen the foundations of our community. For more than 160 years our goal has always been, and will continue to be, to fulfill the needs of those we serve. That remains especially true today.
 
We trust you understand we made a difficult yet responsible decision to close all of our YMCA facilities, beginning Wednesday, March 18 – Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
 
This was in support of the recommendations to encourage community members to practice social distancing in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. We sincerely apologize if this adjustment was disappointing or disruptive to you or your family. Yet, we have faith you share in our commitment to the safety, health and well-being of those in our community.
 
As a member, you are one of our greatest supporters that allow us to continue our mission. We sincerely thank you for staying with us and standing strong beside us during this time of crisis. Your membership dues and donations are vital in helping us provide resources to those in need. We trust you are proud to be a part of a dedicated, cause-driven organization and we are honored you are part of our Family Y. 
 
Two outreach programs have been implemented to help those in critical need: 

Essential Personnel Childcare

The YMCA is making this available for dependents of first responders and essential personnel affected by the current pandemic. This is our moment to truly deliver on our promise of service to those who we turn to as a community in our times of need and survival. In a time of great need, the Y is here, ready to lend a hand to our community.

Feeding our Community Together

The Steiner Branch Family YMCA, Thomson Family YMCA and Golden Harvest Food Bank are hosting a no-contact, drive-through Mobile Market food distribution for those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
We also want to provide alternative virtual workouts you can do at home. Our very own YMCA staff, who you see every day, have developed a library of virtual workouts. These are posted daily on each branch’s Facebook page. If you are missing your Les Mills group exercise classes, you can find some Les Mills Home Workouts here.
 
Going forward, we will continue to keep you informed through our website, social media and email. We will provide an update on March 27, 2020.
 
Our mission can only be fulfilled because of our members. Thank you for your continued support and patience in these challenging times. 

UPDATE March 17: YMCA Temporarily Closing All Facilities

Dear Y members,

At the Y, everything we do is in support of building strong communities and providing opportunities for everyone to reach their full potential. For more than 160 years, the Family YMCA of Greater Augusta has worked to meet the critical needs of our communities, and that remains especially true today.

As you know we have been closely monitoring the spread of COVID-19 and its impact within the communities we serve. Late last week, we reduced program offerings, eliminating all group activities and paid programs, but kept facilities open for individuals in an effort to continue serving the wellness needs of our members.

However, we have made the very careful and thoughtful decision to close all of our YMCA facilities, beginning Wednesday, March 18 – Tuesday, March 31, 2020.

The guidance we are receiving from all sources informs us that the most effective way to curb the spread of COVID-19 is for community members to practice social distancing and remain at home as much as possible. We hope you understand this decision. The Y is so much more than a gym, we are a connected community and service organization. Serving the best interest of all is vital during this difficult time.

Closing our facilities, however, doesn’t mean we’ve “closed shop.” Just the opposite. In many ways this is our moment to truly deliver on our promise of service to those who turn to us for community and to those who turn to us for survival. We’re pivoting and repurposing and working to provide programs and services that will be critical in the coming weeks.

  • We are distributing meals and snacks to families with children up to age 18. More information on this service is forthcoming.
  • The Y is working with the Golden Harvest Food Bank to expand food pantries at several branches and offer food distribution to the community in the coming days.
  • We are developing a childcare program for emergency responders. Working with healthcare partners, the Y will provide childcare for those who don’t have the option to work remotely, including medical professionals, emergency response workers. The first two locations will open by the end of this week at our Wilson and North Augusta branches, with others following in the coming weeks based on need.
  • We are providing alternative virtual workouts you can do at home through a vendor relationship.  These are professionally produced, robust workouts and fun. Les Mills Home Workouts are available here. We are also producing workout videos with our own local staffs as well as fun activities for kids. Check out our Facebook page here for more information.

As we continue to work hard to keep our facilities safe and clean, we ask our Y members to help us in these efforts. We never make a decision to adjust programs and services in haste. We know these adjustments may be disruptive to you and your family, but we also know you share our commitment to safety, health and well-being.  We will keep you informed using our website, social media and email.

For our dedicated members and greatest supporters, thank you for staying with us during these challenging times. You are a part of our effort to support the entire community. As a charitable organization, we humbly ask that you remain a part of the Y family by continuing your membership. Your membership dues are vital in helping us to continue to serve the community during this time of extreme need. While we cannot serve you in person, we are working diligently to provide virtual resources and engaging activities to ensure that your health and wellness continue to be supported.

Please take care of yourself and one another. Our community is strong, and together, we will get through this.

Sincerely,

Danny McConnell
President/CEO

Gregory Francisco, Ph.D
Chair, The Family Y Board
President/CVO Child Development Academy

March 15: YMCA Temporarily Suspends After School Programs For All Closed Districts

Out of an abundance of caution and safety causing recent CSRA school closures, the Family YMCA after school programs will be cancelled until further notice. We will continue to operate in school districts that have not closed their sites. We apologize for any inconveniences in advance and appreciate your understanding to help eliminate the spread of the Corona (COVID-19) Virus. We are monitoring the virus containment plans and processes up-to-the-minute as they develop from the direction of area authorities.

Based on this information, we are developing a plan going forward and will provide you with an update at noon tomorrow on our decisions around offering childcare services. At the Y, we are committed to ensuring the health and well-being of our members, participants and staff. Thank you for partnering with us to help keep our Y community healthy and for your patience as we work together through these challenging times.

March 13: Prevention in Our Facilities

Your Y is regularly cleaned by a local cleaning company and special care is taken by Y staff to meet quality standards in place year-round that keep our facility clean and safe. We have added additional professional “deep cleaning” days as an additional precaution, along with ongoing daily cleanings by staff throughout operational hours.

Additionally, we are encouraging everyone to do their part in helping prevent the spread of germs and viruses:

Hand washing remains the most effective method of preventing the spread of germs, including coronavirus. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Frequent hand washing and use of antibacterial hand sanitizer are encouraged and practiced throughout our programs by staff and children.

Additional everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases like coronavirus, include:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick until you’ve been free of fever for 24 hours.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

If you or a loved one are experiencing flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath, please stay home, rest and contact your medical provider.

A simple way to remember the basics are the 3Cs:

3 Cs-Cover, Clean and Contain

Operations, Classes, Programs and Services

We have made the very careful and thoughtful decision to close all of our YMCA facilities, beginning Wednesday, March 18 – Tuesday, March 31, 2020. 

Closing our facilities, however, doesn’t mean we’ve “closed shop.” Just the opposite. In many ways this is our moment to truly deliver on our promise of service to those who turn to us for community and to those who turn to us for survival. We’re pivoting and repurposing and working to provide programs and services that will be critical in the coming weeks.

  • We are distributing meals and snacks to families with children up to age 18. More information on this service is forthcoming.
  • The Y is working with the Golden Harvest Food Bank to expand food pantries at several branches and offer food distribution to the community in the coming days.
  • We are developing a childcare program for emergency responders. Working with healthcare partners, the Y will provide childcare for those who don’t have the option to work remotely, including medical professionals, emergency response workers. The first two locations will open by the end of this week at our Wilson and North Augusta branches, with others following in the coming weeks based on need.
  • We are providing alternative virtual workouts you can do at home through a vendor relationship.  These are professionally produced, robust workouts and fun. Les Mills Home Workouts are available here.

This is a very fluid environment we are all experiencing and our team is diligently staying abreast of developments here in the CSRA and responding appropriately.

Community Developments

Should any community organizational closings or operational closings occur that may impact our operations, we will comply to provide the best possible and safe solutions for our members and staff, while attempting to maintain access to services. This includes programs in our communities such as youth sports, camps, etc. We will send out regular updates with any new developments as they occur.

Additionally, we encourage everyone to regularly check the CDC’s website for important updates and safety information. The American Academy of Pediatrics also has helpful information specific to children and families. This article shares some more tips on staying healthy at the gym and at home.

Thank you for your patience, prayers and support as we work through these challenges together!