While the D. Bradley McWilliams YMCA at Cypress Creek remains closed to regular activities due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak, the facility began operating as an Essential Personnel Child Care Site on March 23.

The new service is being offered at several Greater Houston YMCAs and provides a full day of programming and meals for the children of "essential personnel," including medical workers; first responders; select government staff; and grocery store, pharmacy and food distributor employees.

"The YMCA has a history of adapting to community needs during times of crisis, and these times are no different. Since our YMCAs closed, our staff teams have been working tirelessly to provide child care for essential personnel, activate necessary supportive services and food-distribution sites, and create virtual ways for our members and the community to stay healthy and engaged during this difficult time," YMCA community liaison Roxanne Davis said. "In times of a public health care crisis, it is important that we are able to provide an avenue that will allow our health professionals to go to work knowing that their children are well cared for."

According to information on the child care program's website, children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old may register for the full-day offering. The program runs from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. daily and features games, arts and crafts, and STEAM and literacy activities. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are also provided.

Davis said children will be supervised under a 9-1 ratio with with an emphasis on small-group activities, and no rooms at the YMCA will exceed the 10-person limit recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She said the YMCA is also working to develop partnerships with health care providers, such as CHI St. Luke's Health, Memorial Hermann and Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

"We are following all recommendations from the CDC and enacting health screenings to keep all staff and participants healthy during these times," she said. "The YMCA has agreed to make the space available at all of our locations for essential employees that are connected with our partnerships."

More information on the child care program and child registration may be found here. Community members or business representatives interested in supporting the YMCA may contact its development team at [email protected].