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The YMCA in Eau Claire announces they will not have before school care this year.

Published: Aug. 21, 2020 at 8:48 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A child care provider that serves roughly 60%t of the nation’s child care needs announces they will be eliminating their early morning program in Eau Claire for now.

Officials with the YMCA of the Chippewa Valley say they waited as long as they could to make this tough call but with schools kicking off fall classes in just over a week, they still did not have enough demand for the service.

According to the YMCA, the before & after school care offers kids a safe place to learn, have fun, and get active before and after the school day.

Caroline Wee with YMCA of the Chippewa Valley says they had suspicions the COVID-19 pandemic would result in low enrollment, but had no idea it would be this low at its Eau Claire location.

"This was an extremely painful decision … typically in Eau Claire school district we provide care for between four and six hundred children. And we currently just for the full day program are at about one hundred."

Wee says the lack of families needing their services is likely due to families working from home or being laid off.

Short on staff, Wee also feels other providers in the area are running into the same problem.

“There are programs in this area that have been very long standing that have been providing care for many years and are having trouble getting the enrollments they need to stay open and that’s been a concern nationwide that if these centers close due to a lack of enrollments they may not be able to re-open their doors”.

Some area school districts - like the Chippewa Falls Unified School District - are choosing to start the fall semester with in-person classes five days a week.

Wee says the YMCA is able to keep offering its normal programs at its Chippewa Falls location for now, but admits they are prepared for the worst.

“We have full day care at this location the Eau Claire YMCA location and at the sport center. In Chippewa we are in all of the schools for before and after school because they are running school as normal however we are prepared that if they have to shut down and go to virtual learning that we will do the same there and provide all day care”.

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