Covid-19 Updates | West Suburban YMCA Newton, MA | West Suburban YMCA

Keeping You Informed

Covid-19 Updates

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May 22, 2020

Dear YMCA Community,

At the start of this week, Governor Charlie Baker announced his administration’s long-awaited plan for Reopening Massachusetts. The plan is a four-phase approach for reopening businesses and organizations, and it relies on public health metrics to determine how Massachusetts moves through the phases. Massachusetts is currently in Phase 1 of the plan, which consists of the continuation of Essential Services and allows the reopening of low-risk businesses and industries with specific restrictions and guidelines. Gyms and fitness centers are currently included in Phase 3 of the Baker-Polito Administration’s plan.

You can learn more about the Baker-Polito Administration’s “Reopening Massachusetts” plan and all four of its phases at

West Suburban YMCA Reopening Plan: Health & Safety is our Top Priority

Similar to the “Reopening Massachusetts” four-phase plan, the Y’s Reopening Advisory Task Force has been creating a reopening strategy that will occur in several groupings, or “tiers” as we have chosen to refer to them. Our reopening strategy is based on guidance from many resources, including, but not limited to, the CDC, state and local DPH, and the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs. Being that we are in Phase 3 of Baker’s plan, our strategy is fluid and designed to evolve as new information becomes available. We hope to provide more details in the coming weeks once we have a specific reopening date for the Y, determined by our own facility’s preparedness and the state’s Phase 3 regulations.

Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces
What we can tell you right now is that the Y may look and feel quite different upon our reopening. At a minimum, the West Suburban YMCA will abide by the new Workplace Safety Standards developed by the Department of Public Health and the state’s COVID-19 Command Center. Businesses are required to adhere to a set of specific safety protocols and guidelines related to social distancing, hygiene, cleaning/disinfecting, and staffing/operations. These protocols are in the best interest of the greater community and put the health and safety of our staff and members first.

What About Summer Camp?
In a somewhat surprising move, summer day camps are listed in Phase 2 of the governor’s Reopening Massachusetts plan. This is exciting news for the West Suburban YMCA’s Camp Pikati and Camp Chickami. As is customary now, we await further guidance from the state and DPH regarding regulations and restrictions for camp operations. We’ve been preparing for multiple scenarios and know that summer camp will be more essential this year than ever before.

Sadly, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the YMCA Camp Frank A. Day 2020 season. Although the governor's plan lists residential camps in Phase 3, after much deliberation we concluded that we can not run a safe and successful residential camp this summer. For more information about this decision, please read Camp Frank A. Day Director Stephan Lockney's letter to families.

A Brief Look at Our Survey
Thank you once again to everyone who took the time to fill out our Reopening Survey. At its closing, we had 1,197 responses. We are currently looking at the data and categorizing all comments so we can best utilize your responses. Safety and hygiene, getting back into a fitness routine, pool and locker room concerns, and virtual fitness options are just a few of the recurring themes that we’ve identified, and we look forward to sharing an overview of survey feedback soon.

The West Suburban YMCA moves into the holiday weekend in good spirits as we look ahead to our eventually reopening. We are excited to open our doors again and continue serving our community.

Please have a healthy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

Jack Fucci
President and CEO


May 15, 2020

Dear YMCA Community,

Thank you to all who filled out our Reopening Survey in response to last week's email. We've received over 1,000 responses to the survey so far, with more coming in each day. We are grateful for your thoughtful responses and considerations, and look forward to taking a deeper look once we close the survey on the evening of Sunday, May 17th. The survey results will be used with other information to inform our Reopening Advisory Task Force. Please take a moment to fill it out before Sunday evening if you have not done so already. Tell Us Your Thoughts >>>

Some Feel-Good Moments from This Week

In keeping with the spirit of last week's Y Good News, we'd like to share a few feel-good moments from this past week. We're still delivering hundreds of groceries each week for the Newton Food Pantry, and this Wednesday was quite possibly record-breaking in the number of grocery bags we loaded into our van!

We've also stepped in to help with a number of projects organized by Newton Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NNHN), a grassroots movement of thoughtful individuals making a difference in the Newton community. NNHN has been supporting about 30 local families (consisting of roughly 125 total individuals) who are dealing with food insecurity. This week the Y assisted with Grab N Go grocery deliveries to 16 Newton households, and before that we helped pick up a bulk food order for the Arabic Baptist Church Food Pantry, consisting of two months worth of food distribution for the pantry that was funded by $2,000 of donations from NNHN members. The power of community is truly at work in Newton!

Lastly, on Wednesday we celebrated another special birthday. Tumaini, one of our preschool students, turned 4 years old, and we brought a party to her! It is such a joy making these socially distant visits to our Y youth, and we're looking forward to the day we can see them in our building again.

View the highlight video here.

May is National Water Safety Month
Even in the midst of a pandemic, parents and children need to remember to be water aware as we move into the summer months. May is National Water Safety Month, and today is International Water Safety Day. Take a moment to read this mission moment from our Aquatics Director, Amanda Pierce:
This past week I received a message from Dennis, a Y parent, regarding a water safety emergency that occurred while on a bike ride. He and his daughter, Elexis, shared their story.
“Swimming rescues came to the rescue! My 5 year old daughter and I were on an adventure riding our bikes around the lake. She lost control of her bike and ended up in the lake, along with her bike..." Continue Reading >>>
West Suburban YMCA Receives Grant from the Boston Foundation
We are excited to share that we have been selected by The Boston Foundation to receive a $25,000 from their COVID-19 Response Fund. This grant will support our efforts to serve the most vulnerable members of our community who are affected by the COVID-10 crisis. The Boston Foundation has distributed nearly $4 million through this initiative; we are thrilled to be included among so many other nonprofits doing critical work in the community. Read the Press Release >>>
Newton Rotary "Front Steps Project"
The Presti Group, in collaboration with the Newton Rotary, is offering a great incentive to help local community organizations. For a limited time, you can select the West Suburban YMCA as your charity of choice when donating through the Newton Rotary, and a representative from the Presti Group will contact you to set up a "Front Steps Project" photoshoot. It's a great way to give back to the community while also gaining a meaningful family memento. Learn About the "Front Steps Project" >>>
With gratitude,
Jack Fucci
President and CEO
P.S. In case you missed it, check out our Y Good News video to celebrate the good happening all around us in Newton and catch a glimpse of a young John Krasinski!

May 8, 2020

Dear YMCA Community,

As we inch closer to May 18th and await further guidance from Governor Baker, we're taking a cue from Newton native and former West Suburban YMCA Camp Chickami counselor John Krasinski by focusing on the good news all around us. Inspired by John's SGN or "Some Good News" weekly internet show, we are excited to share with you our very own episode.

Presenting... Y Good News!

We hope our version of "YGN" brings a smile to your face. It was such a pleasure connecting with many members of our community to create this video. If you'd like to share your good news, tag us on social media @wsymca and use hashtag #YGoodNews! Don't forget to share and let John know how much you liked YGN, so we can invite him to be our next guest!

Reopening Task Force and Member Survey

Switching gears back to our reopening plans for the facility and camp, we have assembled a task force that will lead our reopening strategy and planning. Our task force consists of Y staff, board members, members and individuals that have expertise in specific areas including medical, communications, facility design and operations.
As we prepare to reopen, we would like to know your thoughts and comfort level. Please take a moment to complete our reopening survey and let us know what you think.
Officially Announcing Kim Benzan as the Y's New Chief Operating Officer
In mid-March, just as coronavirus news and restrictions were ramping up across the state, the West Suburban YMCA promoted Kimberly Benzan to the role of Chief Operating Officer. Until recently, her appointment as COO had not been publicly announced, and we're excited to finally introduce her as our new Chief Operating Officer. Read the news release regarding Kim's hire here.
Kim has been an indispensable part of the Y’s organizational response and management during the coronavirus pandemic. Recently, Kim spoke with NBC10's Jeff Sapertone about the future of summer camp. You can view the interview here.
Giving Tuesday
Earlier this week was Giving Tuesday, a global generosity movement. Typically held once per year after Thanksgiving, the May 5th Giving Tuesday was created in response to the impact COVID-19 has had on our lives. We continue to need your support to sustain our operations during this difficult time. You can make a donation at any time that is right for you. Thank you to all who have stayed with us, donated and supported the Y!

As always, we thank you for your ongoing support and look forward to welcoming you back to the Y in the near future. And remember, no matter how hard things get, there is always good in the world and at the Y!

With gratitude,

Jack Fucci
President and CEO


May 1, 2020

Dear YMCA Community,

Can you believe it's May already? We're hopeful this month will bring with it some sunshine, warmer weather, and perhaps the early stages of reopening our Y.


Looking Toward Reopening - We Want Your Input!

Governor Baker announced this week that the state has extended the closure of nonessential businesses through May 18. Facemasks are now mandatory in public. We're hard at work in anticipation of the day we welcome you back to the building.

We have created a task force that will lead our reopening strategy and planning. While much depends on the guidelines set forth by the CDC, and our state and local government, please know that our highest priority is the safety and health of our staff and our members.

We would like to know your thoughts and comfort level as we prepare the Y to reopen. Please be on the lookout for a request to complete an informational survey in the near future. The results will help inform our task force as they prepare new operating guidelines.

The Y will likely look and feel very different in the early stages of our reopening. We all are eager to get back to normal and ask that everyone prepare to extend a little extra patience, kindness, and courtesy to one another!


Thank You to First Responders, Healthcare Workers, and Essential Workers


This week we joined many other organizations in lighting our building blue in honor of the frontline workers who are leading us through this pandemic. We want to take a moment to specifically recognize our Y's own Phil Wong, our CPR and First Aid Training Coordinator. Phil has been an EMT for the City of Boston for 39 years, and we're so grateful for his dedication to helping people. He has literally trained thousands of youth and adults in CPR and first aid. Thank you, Phil, and thank you to all the essential workers on the frontlines of this crisis.


Another Feel-Good Birthday Bash

The past few weeks have shown there are so many new and creative ways we can celebrate together even when we're apart. Our daily Y Zoom meeting on Thursday turned into a surprise birthday party for board member Janice Rogers (bottom right corner in the above photo)! It was a wonderful way to start the day with smiles all around. Happy birthday, Janice!


Remembering Y Members and Friends We've Lost This Year and During Our Closure

We are saddened to learn of the passing of several members of our Y community.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those we've lost.


Giving Tuesday Now

Lastly, I'd like to call attention to #GivingTuesdayNow. #GivingTuesdayNow is a worldwide day of giving taking place Tuesday, May 5, 2020, created in response to the global implications of COVID-19.

We invite you to take part by supporting the West Suburban YMCA's Y For Good Fund, which was established to address our community's most pressing needs during the current public health crisis. If you'd like to take part, you don't need to wait until Tuesday to give. Click the button below or visit our social media pages on May 5th.

Thank you again for your support. Please be in touch and remember that although you maybe away from our building you are not away from our thoughts. 

With gratitude,

Jack Fucci

President and CEO