CIRCLEVILLE — The Pickaway County Family YMCA has reopened to offer one program to the community, pandemic childcare.

The program, which has the support of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, is for potty-trained pre-school children up through age 12. The program is Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Pickaway County Facility at 440 Nicholas Drive in Circleville.

Lauren Vinkovich, area childcare director, said the program is for children of parents that are considered essential workers.

“This is for parents who are essential workers strictly on the essential workers list,” Vinkovich stated. “We want to be here for our community and help in any way we can and since we’re currently a childcare program we were able to apply with the special license with the state.”

Among those professionals include hospital and clinic staff, pharmacy staff, nursing home and home health workers, first responders and direct service workers, among others.

“There is a full list on the coronavirus website and if anyone has questions they can contact us through the pandemic care email address or phone number,” Vinkovich added.

Jeff Phillips, Pickaway County Family YMCA Executive Director, said the Pickaway County Family YMCA is one of two central Ohio branches that so far have received the special license.

“We’re going to play it by ear to see what the response is to this,” Phillips said. “I think in this kind of a critical time, this crisis, some organizations want to step up and I think the Y is one of those.”

According to Vinkovich, the YMCA can only take 18 children in the program.

“Our ratios are one staff member to six kids and our max is 18,” she said. “Because of the ratios we have to use three different spaces, the party room, the family center and the gymnasium.”

Phillips remarked the number and ratio are mandated by the state.

“Ratios came down from the state to maintain health and safety,” Phillips commented. “That’s the biggest concern. We have to throughout the day do extra cleaning procedures and every night after we have special cleaning that will occur to make sure the spaces that are used are safe and disinfected and germ free.”

Vinkovich said they’ll be using their regular lesson plans with the children to keep them occupied during the week.

“They’ll be getting the educational piece they need while they’re out of school,” she said. “It’s everything we do normally like STEM activities, art and reading. They will be getting a free lunch and a free snack as part of the Child and Adult care food program (CACF).”

The program is a fee based program and is $185 per week for preschoolers and $150 for children 3 to 12 years old.

“It’s a fee based program unless someone qualifies for Title 20 then fees would be covered by the county,” Vinkovich said.

To register for the program visit ymcacolumbus.org/pandemiccare. For questions about qualifications or the program, the YMCA can be reached at 614-689-2090 or via email at pandemicchildcarecenters@ymcacolumbus.org.

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