The YMCA of Yakima and Skateland are each set to launch day programs to oversee and support grade school students in virtual learning.
The YMCA has opened enrollment for its K-5 program, which will begin Monday and be offered weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Downtown YMCA at 5 N. Naches Ave. in Yakima. Students are asked to arrive with a device, headphones, a mask and lunch. YMCA instructors will then ensure they attend lessons and complete schoolwork before engaging in enrichment programs including STEM (science, technology, engineering and tech) projects, crafts, PE, music, swimming and games.
Students will be in groups of 18 overseen by two staff members, said YMCA Associate Executive Director Julie Bremerman. Within the groups, they will maintain social distancing and following CDC guidelines for COVID-19 safety.
“Child care is considered essential, so this is considered essential,” Bremerman said. “We’ve already been operating an early (learning) child care program, so we’re fully aware of all the regulations and guidelines needed to make this program safe.”
The YMCA program has capacity for up to 72 children, and enrollment is on a month-by-month basis, she said.
There is a $50 registration fee and a monthly cost of $550 per month per student, with September and December prorated. Enrollment forms can be found at www.yakimaymca.com before registering in-person at the downtown location.
With an empty, newly renovated skate deck and approval from health authorities, Skateland in Union Gap will be launching an assisted virtual learning day camp for students in grades 1 through 6 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 21.
Students are asked to arrive with a device and face mask, and will have a temp check done by way of a facial recognition system recently purchased by the company, said Connie Eisenzimmer, who owns Skateland with her husband, Kim Eisenzimmer. Health and safety standards including regular sanitation and social distancing will also be followed, she said.
Desks will be set up for learning, and once schoolwork is completed, extracurricular activities including DJ beginner lessons, virtual music lessons, crafts and STEM activities will be provided.
The program has a one-time registration fee of $25, plus a monthly fee of $495, or $120 per week. A discount is available to school district employees with a valid employee ID.
While the Skateland program is approved for a capacity of 300 based on square footage, the Eisenzimmers said they intended to start the program with a 100-student cap.
“That would be a little overwhelming just getting a new program off the ground, so we feel comfortable capping it at 100 and getting a good foundation going and seeing where we’re at after the holidays,” said Eisenzimmer.
The program is approved for three months at a time, after which they will reapply for an emergency waiver that allows them to provide the care, she said.
While the program will be staffed by trained Skateland employees, she said several licensed school teachers who are retired or not working have stepped up to offer help.
For more information, call program director Jamie Hill at 509-406-0977 or email email@example.com.
Eisenzimmer said she was excited to be able to provide a program to support the community through a trying time, as most students in the county returned to school remotely this fall.
“We’ve been family-oriented for years — 72 years,” she said. “So we’re always open to helping out in any way we can for the community, in a safe way.”