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La Crosse area YMCA temporarily closing all school-age care sites due to COVID-19 case involving staff
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La Crosse area YMCA temporarily closing all school-age care sites due to COVID-19 case involving staff

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All 12 of the La Crosse Area Family YMCA’s summer school-age care sites were closed as of 6 p.m. Wednesday after a COVID-19 situation involving some staff.

The YMCA sent a notice Wednesday afternoon informing the community that the facility has “a situation with positive COVID-19 cases in relation to our summer school age child-care staff team” and upon immediate consultation with the La Crosse County Health Department made “a difficult but proactive approach to this situation by temporarily shutting down our summer school age sites.” Approximately 430 youth ages 5 to 12 use the off-site service.

The safety and well-being of members, staff, volunteers, participants and the La Crosse community remains the top priority, the YMCA says, and numerous health and safety measures were taken prior to opening up the child-care programs.

Jennie Melde, director of youth development at the YMCA, could not disclose to the Tribune how many staff tested positive for COVID-19, or at which location they worked. However, in a statement the YMCA noted “At this time, there is not a known risk to children at any of our summer school age sites, but we cannot say there is zero risk.”

Calling it a proactive shutdown, Melde says the YMCA will work with the La Crosse County Health Department to determine “what is safe and best for the community,” with a tentative resuming of summer school care sites on June 22. The school district and YMCA will also collaborate, Melde says, to ensure all buildings are thoroughly cleaned and safety protocols followed before reopening.

The Houser Early Childhood Care Center and YMCA Dahl and Houser branch child watch services will remain open, and Melde says parents and guardians can contact The Parenting Place for assistance in finding child care options during the shutdown.

“This is uncharted territory — no one’s done this before, and we need to work together as a community to make sure everyone is safe and healthy,” Melde says.

The YMCA is “treating this matter with the utmost concern,” the organization assures, and will continue to provide updates on the situation as they become available.


Emily Pyrek can be reached at emily.pyrek@lee.net.

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