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

Keeping You Informed

Covid-19 Updates

June 19, 2020

As we've mentioned in past emails, our facility will open in Phase 3 of Governor Baker’s Reopening Massachusetts Plan. Unfortunately, Governor Baker announced in a press conference earlier today that the earliest start date for Phase 3 is now July 6. This will be our new target reopening date.
The good news is that we will be opening the outdoor track beginning next Monday, June 22, and will resume a modified outdoor group exercise schedule beginning Monday, June 29. We're also exploring several options for bringing fitness and other Y programming outside!
Outdoor Track to Open Next Week
The New Balance Track & Field will open to members next Monday, June 22. Track hours will be 8:00am-8:00pm, and we ask that all members check in at the Welcome Center before using the track to ensure we have an updated waiver and code of conduct for you.
Updates to Fitness and Wellness Areas
Locker Rooms: When we reopen, both the Men's and Women's Locker Rooms will be closed for use. The five private changing rooms will be open and available, but we encourage all members to arrive at the Y in their workout clothes.
Social Distancing: To promote social distancing and allow for plenty of personal space, we've moved and rearranged equipment in several areas. The Stretching Room is now the free weight area, Court B of the gymnasium has cardio equipment including elliptical machines and rowing machines, and the cardio deck has been rearranged and spaced out.
BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat): Some equipment has been removed from the fitness floor, including mats and ropes. If you need a mat for your workout or to stretch on, please plan to bring your own.
Group Exercise Classes: We will have outdoor group exercise classes that will take place on the New Balance Track & Field or in the back parking lot. We will continue to offer some live virtual classes via Zoom for members who may not be ready to return to an in-person group setting. Look for the new group exercise schedule to be published next week, and for outdoor classes to begin June 29.
Updates to Pool Procedures
Lane Reservations: Upon reopening, both the big pool (6 lanes) and the small pool (2 lanes) will be open for adult lap or recreation swimming. Lanes will be limited to one swimmer each and a lane reservation will be required. More info regarding lane reservations coming soon! Pool group exercise classes will also be available.
Pool Deck Shower: A new shower has been installed right on the pool deck of the big pool, allowing members to quickly rinse off before and after their swim without needing to use the locker rooms.
One Way Pool Decks & Lane Entry: The big pool deck will be one way going counter-clockwise. The small pool deck will be one way going clockwise. If you've reserved an even number lane, you'll enter the pool at the shallow end, and if you've reserved an odd number lane, you'll enter at the deep end. Designated benches will be marked for you to place your things, since lockers will not be available.
New Waiver & Code of Conduct
Yesterday we sent an email to members regarding our new waiver and code of conduct. All members will need to agree to these new documents before returning to our facility. If you can not locate the email, you can do this online by clicking the link below and following the instructions. Click Here.

June 12, 2020

The West Suburban YMCA is excitedly getting ready to reopen as soon as we can. We're eager to welcome you back to the Y, and we hope you're feeling the same!

We are preparing for a June 29th reopening of our facility. This date is dependent on a smooth transition into Phase 3 of Massachusetts' reopening plan, and subject to the industry-specific guidance to be released for gyms, fitness centers, and pools. We'll be releasing details regarding our reopening each week as we move closer to our target grand reopening on the 29th.

Here are some initial changes to expect when we do open our doors:
Members Only:
During the initial stages of our reopening, the facility will be open to West Suburban YMCA members only. No guests or nationwide reciprocity members will be permitted.

Single Entry and Exit: You will enter through the main entrance doors as usual. When you’re ready to leave, you will exit through the trackside door on the basement level. Yes, you read that right - you've finally got the greenlight to exit through the trackside door!

Health & Wellness Screening: Both members and staff will be required to attest to their health before being allowed to enter and use the Y facilities.

PPE for All Staff: All staff will be required to wear masks and other personal protective equipment.

Self-Scan: Members will be asked to self-scan to allow for limited contact entry. Please have your scan tag or the Y's phone app ready when checking in.

Designed for Social Distancing: All open areas inside the Y have been evaluated and redesigned where necessary to help ensure social distancing between members. Signage will be placed prominently throughout the facility to drive awareness of this requirement.

Frequent Cleaning & Sanitizing: Our cleaning practices and protocols have been increased and updated, with frequent sanitation of high touch areas during all times of the day. We've ensured all cleaning and disinfecting products used in the facility, including hand sanitizer, are EPA-approved, and we're maintaining communication with our overnight cleaning service to confirm the latest guidelines and regulations are being met.

New Waiver & Code of Conduct: Before you return to the Y, we'll be asking you to agree to a new waiver and code of conduct. Look for an email coming soon with instructions for how to complete these forms before your first visit back.

June 5, 2020
A Statement of Support, Solidarity, and Inclusion in the Face of Injustice
Dear YMCA Community,
It is difficult to find the right words to say in the face of the enormity of our country’s unrest. But this is not a time for silence. On behalf of the Y, it is critical to speak up to acknowledge and express outrage at the racial injustice and structural inequality in our society. The Y stands with the Black community and reaffirms our commitment to prioritize inclusion, equity and respect for all of humanity.
The Y strives to be open to all. We may never be able to walk in someone else's shoes, but we can educate ourselves and work to understand the different lenses through which people see and experience the world. When we witness injustice, we must be willing to share our voice and stand up for what is right. When we witness hate, we must push back and create a path toward love. When we witness crimes toward humanity, we must hold those responsible accountable. We must champion efforts to address inequities and disparities not just in our own communities, but in our world.
Core to the Y’s mission is a commitment to strengthen the foundations of our community, and we will rise to this occasion to help create meaningful change. We are not yet sure what this will look like. Our first step is to listen, learn, and reflect, and create safe spaces for you, the Y family, to do this in the community and as individuals. 
Change begins with us. In the coming weeks our staff will gather to determine actionable steps to foster a culture of inquiry, growth, and, ultimately, enhanced inclusion. In the meantime, we invite you to share any ideas or thoughts about the direction we might take. 
We’re in this together.
A Brief Reopening Update
Our target date for reopening is June 29th, the anticipated start date of Massachusetts' Phase 3. This is provided that the state's phased plan proceeds smoothly, so please know this date is fluid and may change depending on state guidelines.
While there was buzz across the state regarding pools opening in Phase 2 of Governor Baker's reopening plan, the administration has clarified that Phase 2 only includes outdoor pools. The West Suburban YMCA plans to reopen both of our indoor pools when the rest of our facility opens.
Stay tuned for more specific details regarding our reopening plan next week, including the steps the Y is taking to keep you safe and what to expect when you first come back to the building.
Day Camps Reopening Guidance Released
On Monday, the state released specific guidelines regarding youth-serving programs like day camp in Phase 2. This week our camp team has been thoroughly reviewing these requirements and guidelines to incorporate into our plans for Camp Pikati and Camp Chickami. Though we know camp will look quite different from previous years, we're so excited to offer day camp and provide children with a safe, healthy, and fun experience.
We'll be communicating more information regarding day camp very soon, pending official guidance from the local public health department
A Milestone Birthday for a Remarkable Member
Lastly, I'd like to recognize Sandy Butzel, who celebrated a milestone birthday this week. Sandy is a long-time member and strong advocate for the West Suburban YMCA, having served on our Board of Directors for several years as a both a board member and as Board Chair. We're so thankful for Sandy's commitment to the Y, and wish her a wonderful 80th birthday!
With gratitude,
Jack Fucci
President and CEO

May 29, 2020

Dear YMCA Community,

Last week we shared with you how the Y fits into Governor Baker’s reopening plan. Gyms and fitness centers are part of the state’s Phase 3, making our target reopening date on or after June 29th. With that date in mind, we wanted to share some of the changes we are making to promote the health and safety of all of our members and staff.

Preparing for Reopening

Facility Updates

When you return to our facility, you will notice some things are different. These modifications include newly installed hand washing sinks in the lobby and other areas, plexiglass shields at the Welcome Center and other locations, upgraded air filters, moved cardio and strength equipment to ensure at least six feet between pieces, purchased electrostatic sanitizing sprayers to incorporate into our increased cleaning regimen, and installed signage relative to social distancing, cleaning protocol, and hygiene recommendations.

Extensive Staff Training

One thing we know for certain is that before our doors reopen, our staff will undergo comprehensive training regarding COVID-19 specific hygiene, cleaning, and social distancing protocols and new operating procedures. These trainings are in addition to the extensive safety, emergency, and child protection trainings that are required upon a Y employee’s hiring. These new trainings as well as several refresher trainings will be taking place during the month of June, so that we can be prepared to open when the state deems it safe to do so.

We're In This Together

As we move closer to the reopening date, we will communicate with all members relative to what you can expect upon your return and specifically how we will all work together to maintain a healthy and safe environment. During this difficult time, it is more important than ever that we all make every effort to stay healthy and connected. Our goal is to help everyone do that.

We will, at all times, be following CDC, Massachusetts and local departments of public health guidelines.

Preparing for Day Camps

Although we announced last week the cancellation of the 2020 season at our overnight camp, Camp Frank A. Day, we expect to run our day camps this summer, with appropriate clearance from the state authorities. While there are many questions right now about what exactly Camp Pikati and Camp Chickami will look like, we are keeping very busy prepping for camp. We have all hands on deck getting the grounds ready at Camp Chickami in Wayland and making camp-specific modifications at the West Suburban YMCA for Camp Pikati.

Questions surrounding summer camp are at the forefront of many parent’s and children’s minds, and we appreciate your patience while we determine the specifics of the camp season and await state and local guidance.

Y in the Community

We continue our community efforts working with both the Newton Food Pantry and Newton Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NNHN) to ensure individuals and families have reliable and safe access to food. This week may have been a scorcher, but that didn’t stop us from contributing to a record-breaking day for the Newton Food Pantry on Wednesday: 248 total households were served via senior bulk deliveries, home deliveries, and curbside pickup! We also assisted NNHN with home grocery deliveries for 19 families across the city of Newton.

On Tuesday we were able to spread some smiles by wishing Melanie, a participant in our swim programs (and excellent dancer), a very happy 6th birthday! Watch the adorable video of her celebration.

"Front Steps Project" Extended to End of June

The Newton Rotary and The Presti Group are encouraging goodwill and community support by offering a “Front Steps Project” photoshoot when you donate to one of several community organizations. The opportunity for photos has been extended to the end of June. You can make a donation to the West Suburban YMCA through the Newton Rotary’s page, and in return you’ll receive three free professional photographs. You do not have to live in Newton to participate. Details here.

You can also make a donation directly to the West Suburban YMCA here. Though please note you will only receive a Front Steps Project photo session by donating via the Newton Rotary portal.

With gratitude,

Jack Fucci
President and CEO


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