Welcoming Students at YM&YWHA

Welcoming Students

Dear Friends,

We hope you and your loved ones are well. We cannot thank you enough for all of the incredible support you have provided us during this difficult time. We’ve missed seeing everyone at the Y and can’t wait to invite you to join us again at our home away from home.

It’s with great pride that we look back on the Y’s contribution to our community during the last six months. In mid-March, when all of our lives changed, we immediately shifted to virtual programming, and provided meals to those with food insecurity, cash assistance to families whose employment was impacted by COVID-19, emergency child care for frontline workers, and paid workforce development experiences for adolescents and young adults.

On September 21, we expect to welcome more families and children physically back to the Y in both our early childhood education and school-aged youth departments. Starting September 17, nursery school families will be invited to their classrooms for abbreviated small-group interactions. We anticipate that families of school-aged children who applied to participate in the Learning Labs program will be notified very soon by New York City’s Department of Youth & Community Development. Parents and caregivers will receive participation policies and protocols directly from their respective program directors, including staggered arrival times, drop-off and pick-up locations, health and safety guidelines, and more.

As many of you are aware, the Y ran a New York City Recreational Enrichment Center for children of first responders onsite for several months. To safeguard everyone in the building, new procedures were put in place when it launched. These include, but are not limited to, staff and anyone over the age of 2 wearing masks, temperature checks for everyone entering the building, wellness check-ins for all, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures.

Recommendations from the CDC and local health department were considered when preparing our health and safety plan. Our staff received additional training on infection control and workplace disinfection, we hired a nurse, we purchased electrostatic disinfectant machines, and all of our air conditioner filters have been replaced. We also have installed no-touch automatic faucets on all of our sinks and two thermal body temperature scanners at two height levels — for all sizes of children and adults — to help facilitate the smooth flow of participants entering the building. We look forward to working with all of you to maintain a healthy and safe environment.

At this time, only Nursery School and Learning Lab students will be permitted on premises. Through a staggered approach, we also will be looking to safely open other onsite programs with modified procedures, following guidelines and best practices. We anticipate opening our fitness center in the beginning of October, and will update you as soon as we have a confirmed date.

Thank you for your understanding and patience during this time. Our goal is to provide as much service to the community as possible while keeping you, your family, and our staff healthy and well.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to wish all who celebrate a shanah tovah u’metukah, a good and sweet year.


Martin G. Englisher
Chief Executive Officer

Victoria Neznansky
Chief Development and Social Services Officer

Michael Fermaglich
Chief Operating Officer

Martin Yafe
Chief Program Officer

About the Y
Established in 1917, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights & Inwood (the Y) is Northern Manhattan’s premier Jewish community center — serving an ethnically and socio-economically diverse constituency — improving the quality of life for people of all ages through critical social services and innovative programs in health, wellness, education, and social justice, while promoting diversity and inclusion, and caring for those in need.

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