As new announcements are made regarding the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley's response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, they will be posted below (with most recent communications listed on top).
March 20, 2020 - A letter to our members from our CEO:
Dear Y members,
The Y of the Chippewa Valley hopes you can continue your membership! Our entire community is coming to terms with the impact of the COVID-19 coronavirus. We are navigating what short- and long-term impacts it will have in the Chippewa Valley and our own lives.Here at the Y, while our facilities are closed for membership and programs, we are still operating child care programs for children ages birth-8 years in accordance with the Governor’s directives. We will keep our child care programs open for those who have nowhere else to turn and those who are working in emergency, medical or other vital services.Right now, except for child care services, program revenue is non-existent. The Y continues to pay rather significant fixed costs until we return to normal operations.The Y needs your membership now even more than ever. Without it, our future is deeply uncertain. The Y is funded primarily through membership and program fees. As those disappear, so will the Y. I am deeply proud of our team and of the resilience they have shown through this unprecedented crisis. Now I am asking for your help, too. The single biggest way for us to maintain stability is for you to maintain your Y membership through this crisis. Your membership fees would count as a charitable contribution for the period of time that we’re closed.If you are a Silver Sneaker or Silver & Fit participant, please view one of our online fitness classes (www.eauclaireymca.org and www.chippewaymca.com) and then call or email the YMCA (Chippewa Falls: 715-723-2201, Eau Claire: 715-836-8460 or firstname.lastname@example.org) as we can still get credit for every visit you log in with. Here is the reality of where we at this moment. We are a completely independent, locally-run, non-profit organization. We receive no funding from the national YMCA.
The temporary closure of our 5 facilities located in Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls, and New Auburn, along with our over 17 school-based afterschool sites, has forced us to furlough great people including fitness instructors, front desk attendants, youth sports staff, lifeguards and swim instructors, afterschool staff, and many more you know and love.
Our leadership team is working around the clock to regroup and to preserve the guts of our operation for the long term, much less the next few weeks. Our intent is to bring back as many of our furloughed associates as possible, as soon as possible, but that all depends on how long this goes on and whether we have any resources left.
We are working closely with local and state agencies to keep our child care staff working. We are operating within strict licensing standards, consistently cleaning and sanitizing, and taking other precautions so our parents who work in necessary and vital services continue to have a safe place to put their children during the day. If you have friends, neighbors or coworkers who are in need of child care services, please contact our Child Care Team at the Chippewa Falls YMCA (715-723-5135) or the Eau Claire YMCA (715-836-8460).
If you’ve enjoyed all that the Y offers and brings to your family life in the past and look forward to returning to the Y you love, if at all possible, I hope you will please continue your membership. I say this fully aware of the fact that this situation has also impacted your family and very likely your work life as well.Since the closure, we have been sharing on-line resources for staying healthy and active at home, including virtual group exercise classes, resources for kids and families, and babysitting and Youth Home Alone classes. Please look for those on your local Y’s Facebook page and look for updates on our websites. Our members mean the world to us. Thank you for your participation in the Y now and always. Please stay safe and healthy.
Chief Executive Officer
March 16, 2020 - Closure Announcement from our CEO
To our Members and Supporters,
In a rapidly changing environment with government announcements of closures of schools, businesses and an increased need to protect our community, the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley has been striving to continue to do what we’ve done for nearly 140 years, to be there for people. We have been there in times of crisis before and we will continue to do so moving forward. Currently, we serve nearly 21,000 people in the Chippewa Valley.
As we continue to take action to minimize the risk to our YMCA community and members of the public, we have an important announcement. Due to today’s federal recommendation announced at the President’s news conference, at the end of business on Monday, March 16, our YMCA wellness centers, pools and programs will be closed through the anticipated school opening on April 6, with the exception of YMCA Child Care. It is probable that this date might change as we learn more on the fight against community spread of coronavirus.
Child Care: To help mitigate the spread and risk of exposure of COVID-19, WI Governor Evers announced the closure of all schools (kindergarten to grade 12), effective the end of day on Wednesday, March 18. The ECASD announced they will be closing earlier at the end of the day today. Chippewa Falls schools will close at the end of the day tomorrow.
At this time, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services is recommending that all Child Care programs remain open as a vital resource for many first responders, health care workers and families who cannot find care elsewhere. As result, both YMCA Early Learning Centers will remain open and YMCA Schools Out programs for elementary children will be held at the Chippewa Falls YMCA and the L.E. Phillips Indoor Sports Center in Eau Claire.
We are closely working with community leaders and will continue to communicate with you on when we will reopen. In the meantime, we hope that you continue to invest in your membership so that we can maintain vital life-changing at the Y. We know your membership is meaningful to you and is based upon how much you care about our community. We hope you can continue to support the Y through this crisis, so we are ready to meet those emergency needs, and continue to support all who need us once life returns to normal. To make a donation to support our continued work in our community, you can give online for use in Eau Claire or Chippewa Falls. Thank you for your support as we work diligently to ensure the health and safety of our community.
To support your health and wellbeing goals we are offering Y360, an exciting new YMCA on-demand fitness program for adults and kids to do at home. You and your family can exercise together and have some fitness fun! Soon, additional content for kids and families will be added. You can access it today at Y360 On-Demand.
In times of crisis, it is important that we work together to support each other. The YMCA stands ready to do that in any way we can. Let us pray that we all be given wisdom, strength and courage in the coming days and weeks.
With a heavy heart,
Chief Executive Officer
March 16, 2020, 3:45 PM - Letter regarding Before- & Afterschool Care, and School's Out programming:
Dear School-Aged Child Care Parents and Guardians,
To help families provide care for their children while area schools are closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the YMCA’s School’s Out program will begin providing care at the L.E. Phillips YMCA Sports Center on Tuesday, March 17 from 6:30 AM to 6 PM for children ages 5-13 years of age. The daily cost is $35 per child per day for YMCA members; $40 per child per day for non-members. Space is limited. Register online or in person at the Sports Center when you drop your child off. The YMCA School’s Out program will remain open as long as we can practice safe care of the children.
All children enrolled in our Spring Break School’s Out Program should bring a lunch and a snack, and bring clothing appropriate for outside play.
All children who have already registered for the regularly scheduled Spring Break School’s Out program are already enrolled for March 23-27. Anyone wishing to withdraw their registered child from our Spring Break School’s Out program must email email@example.com by noon on Wednesday, March 18. Those who withdraw by the deadline can receive a credit for fees paid or may choose to donate their fee to the YMCA as a charitable contribution.
Children who are enrolled in before- and after-school care through the Eau Claire YMCA will be credited their fees that have been paid for care through March 20 that will not be provided because schools have been closed. No further fees for before- and afterschool care will be charged until we know when schools will reopen.
**St. Mary’s & St. James Sites:
Because St. Mary’s & St. James will be holding classes through Wednesday, our YMCA Before and After School Care will be offered to those schools on Tuesday and Wednesday with the following modifications:
St. Mary’s After School Care will close at 5 PM on Wednesday
St. James students will need to be dropped off and picked up at the Sports Center (3456 Craig Road) instead of the Downtown YMCA Clubhouse. Student Transit will bus children in our before school care to St. James. After school, Student Transit will bus children in our afterschool program to the Sports Center.
For all programs:
The health and safety of our children, families and staff are very important to us. Due to the health concerns, our health policy will be more strictly enforced - including asking that children be picked up and brought home if exhibiting even minor symptoms (cough, low-grade fevers, sore throat, etc.). Individuals who have any of the following circumstances must refrain from entering our childcare program:
Anyone whose family members have traveled to a country for which the CDC has issued a Level 2 or 3 travel designation (currently South Korea, Iran, most European Countries, China, United Kingdom and Ireland) within the last 14 days.
Have had contact with any Persons Under Investigation (PUIs) for COVID-19 within the last 14 days, OR with anyone with known COVID-19.
Anyone having any symptoms of a respiratory infection (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever, or shortness of breath).
The children we care for are incredibly important to us. Please follow our website and Facebook page where we will provide you with more information as the situation develops over the coming days. We value your cooperation and understanding as we make changes to your YMCA experience in order to stay ahead of this evolving public health challenge.
Caroline Wee, Association Childcare Director
YMCA of the Chippewa Valley
March 16, 2020:
All afterschool child care programs in Eau Claire (at the schools and at the YMCA) will run this afternoon.
Effective immediately, the jacuzzi, saunas, and steamrooms are closed.
Details about Schools Out programming and any other programmatic/facility changes will be announced early this afternoon.
Please keep in mind that things can change at any time based on mandates from governmental agencies. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we navigate this everchanging situation.
March 15, 2020:
We are aware that the Eau Claire Area School District has decided to close schools after tomorrow. We do not yet know how this impacts our school-aged child care programs.
As soon as we know, we will post an update here.
March 14, 2020 Letter to Before- and Afterschool Families:
March 14, 2020
Dear School-Aged Child Care Parents and Guardians,
We have confirmed with the Eau Claire Area School District that the YMCA's Before- and Afterschool Child Care programs will be able to run normally on Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17.
Details regarding school-aged child care on Wednesday are still being worked out. We will send you another email on Monday afternoon once they have been finalized.
Thanks for your continued patience!
Association Childcare Services Director
March 13, 2020 Letter to all AAU Basketball Families:
Good Afternoon Wisconsin City Hoops Families,
As an AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) member club, we recently received the following message from Dr. Roger J Goudy, President/CEO of AAU.
In light of the ongoing developments as a result of COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”), the AAU is temporarily suspending ALL AAU events, for the next 3 weeks, effective immediately. The AAU’s first priority is the safety and welfare of all of our athletes, coaches and families. The AAU will continue to monitor the situation on a national, regional, state and local level. We will keep all of our AAU members updated as the situation evolves.
With that said, we are currently discussing the proper decisions in relation to our spring basketball season. We are committed to offering this program with the assurance our participants are not at risk. Our number one priority is keeping our athletes and coaches safe. In the meantime, this weekend’s tryouts are postponed. Note this will also delay the selection of teams. We do not have make-up dates determined yet as things are literally changing by the minute. We anticipate they will be after April 1st. In the meantime, we highly encourage your player to keep working on their basketball skills, so they are ready when the time comes. We will continue to provide information as we know more. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
March 13, 2020 Letter to all Early Learning Center Families:
Dear YMCA – Early Learning Community Families,
The health and safety of our children, families and staff are very important to us. We are formulating a contingency plan to make sure we are able to continue care as long as possible and/or have a plan in place if more serious conditions occur. With the possibilities of school districts closing, we are aware of the even more overwhelming need of childcare.
We are doing our part to keep our center clean and sanitary during this time. The YMCA has added more sanitizer stations throughout the building, including in childcare. We will be disinfecting our toys, shelves and classrooms in a more frequent manner. As always, we remain diligent on washing hands, cleaning and sanitizing.
Due to the health concerns, our health policy will be more strictly enforced. This means that we will be asking that children be picked up and brought home if symptoms of even minor illness appear.
As many of you know, UWEC has decided to shut down classes. Many of our staff members are college students at UW-Eau Claire and other colleges. With the closing of campuses, some of our staff are choosing to return home to their families. It is very possible we may experience staff shortages during this time. For the time being, we have the staff we require to provide care to all our families. If we reach a point where a staff shortage is a possibility, we ask that families who have the ability to keep children home to please do so. Any volunteered absence will not be charged for care.
We will continue with communication regarding any changes or plans being implemented. If staff shortages begin to occur, certain actions will need to be taken to make sure we are complying with licensing to provide safe care for our children.
The YMCA Early Learning Centers will remain open as long as we can assure the safety of the children in our program. We thank you for your patience in this difficult time as we navigate new obstacles. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Association Childcare Director
March 6, 2020 Letter to all Members:
Dear YMCA Members,
At the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley, we take your health and safety very seriously. The respiratory illness COVID-19 has now reached the United States. When a serious health issue arises, our staff team comes together to reassess our strategies to keep our members and staff healthy.
We understand people may worry about the new Coronavirus. In today’s connected world, an outbreak anywhere can be a risk everywhere. Risk is dependent on exposure. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) considers COVID-19 a serious situation and advises taking preparedness measures. Currently, the best way to protect our health and well-being is to practice the same basic hygiene that we do for flu season. Everyone should always take simple daily precautions to help prevent the spread of all respiratory illnesses:
Wash your hands 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.
Stay home when you’re sick.
Regularly and thoroughly clean surfaces, such as countertops and doorknobs, with a disinfectant.
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. More information about the Coronavirus can be found at
At the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley, these are some precautions and actions that we are initiating:
We are asking members who may be ill with any contagious condition (i.e. fever) to stay home and return to the Y when they are feeling better.
As has been the policy, children in our Early Learning Centers, School-Age Child Care and Kids Care programs are required to stay out of programs a minimum of 24 hours after being deemed symptom free.
Additional hand sanitizer stations will be available to all. We will also make more antibacterial wipes available throughout the branches and at our off-site locations.
We are asking all members to use the disinfectant products we provide to clean equipment BEFORE and AFTER workouts.
Staff will be cleaning doorknobs, light switches, countertops, equipment, handles, weights, etc. regularly.
In this time pf preparedness, we are trying our best to think ahead. If you think of something that can help or have questions, please contact your program or branch director directly to help us do better together.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation!
Theresa Hillis, CEO