By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Starting Monday, the YMCA Twin Cities will open its doors at 38 locations to elementary school-aged children whose parents are considered essential workers.

This applies to people such as first responders or grocery store workers, who have to go to work during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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The program costs $40 per day, but the program will offer financial aid to families who need it. Part of the challenge for the Y’s staff will be in providing a useful resource, while still committing to stopping the spread.

Students and staff will each need to meet strict health guidelines in order to participate. The YMCA had to get creative with ways to help children understand social distancing—for which they’ll use pool noodles to illustrate six feet of space.

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They’re trying to keep kids’ minds and bodies active, through its gyms, cooking classrooms and help with school work.

“We have lots of open spaces where kids can gather and be active,” Chief Operating Officer Greg Waibel said. “They will have their educational component. The school district are all preparing all kids for distance learning, so during the day we’ll help with homework help, keeping their education up.”

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Christiane Cordero