Saskatchewan

Outdoor time, individual activities focus of before and after school programs at YMCA Saskatoon

Registration has opened for the programs and the YMCA says it is following school divisions' safety plans.

Registration has opened for the programs

Youth and children attending before and after school programs will wear masks when arriving and leaving and when physical distancing isn't possible at YMCA Saskatoon. (Shutterstock/Christy Thompson)

As students return to school in person this fall, organizations that host before and after school programs are preparing to host children once again as well. 

With the pandemic, the programs are going to look different. 

YMCA Saskatoon is one example. It released its plan for the fall after talking with three Saskatoon school divisions. 

"We do recognize that it's a service that families need for their children in order to get back into their routine and back into work," Ashlee Bloder, Saskatoon YMCA's before and after school program director, told Saskatoon Morning

Bloder said the YMCA is matching the precautions local schools are taking.

Last week, the Saskatoon Public School division and Greater Saskatoon Catholic School division announced they will mandate mask use for Grades 4 to 12 when physical distancing is not possible and recommends younger students wear them as well. 

"We're going to ask all of our children to wear masks and pickup and drop-offs," Bloder said. "Things are going to look a little bit different, but we're going to be communicating that with all of our families before their first day of the program."

Registration opened online on August 14 and spots are still open, Bloder said. 

"We do predict it will be a little bit lower this year just with some students not going back to school right away in the fall," she said. 

Bloder said the programs will also have more time outside, use the space in different ways, and focus on individual activities and keeping children in their school cohorts.

"It's good to see that we have parents that are asking questions and wanting to come back to our programs and having the kids back in their programs and back in the schools."

Bloder said the YMCA has adjusted fees to make sure it's feasible for families, but also keeps the organization afloat. In a pnews release, YMCA Saskatoon said it needs help now more than ever and encourages people to donate if they are able. 

With files from Saskatoon Morning

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