We are pushing the RESTART BUTTON


Dear JCC Community,  
 
We all make decisions based on our life experience and our moral compasses. These past few months every outing to a grocery store or to visit a grandparent or grandchild that each one of us made has seen us weighing our health concerns and those of others with our love of, and desire to see, family. 
 
JCC MidWestchester also makes decisions based on values. The Board of Directors and senior staff have had to make some tough decisions on seeing us through to the other end of this pandemic, and keeping our patrons of all ages safe while following all the ever changing regulations mandated by various government bodies. In these unprecedented times, each decision weighs heavily on our hearts and shoulders. Community centers are places for the community to congregate and the one thing we aren’t allowed to do is congregate.  

We opened our summer programming for children with the key value of keeping children healthy. We decreased capacity and only opened for 3 days a week - recognizing that parents were weighing their own values-based decisions about keeping their children safe and the need for children to be, well, children. Providing childcare is what JCCMW does well and it plays an important role in the mental health of families.  
 
In France they call the transition to school and the fall, La Rentrée, The Return. This year’s return will look nothing like any we have seen in our lifetimes. As we restart our programs we have had to rethink our space, our budgets, our staffing, and most importantly, the well being and safety of your family. We have had to think about how we can keep our community safe, healthy, and strong. One of our primary goals is to be an important resource for families navigating educational and child care needs during the Covid-19 crisis.  
 
We have tried to keep everyone informed about what is happening at JCCMW as best we could under the circumstances. We do understand the frustration of some of our patrons who feel more communication would have been helpful. We hear you! We truly tried to do our best with very, very limited staff. Exactly to this last point, the information about each department (in alphabetical order) is an update as to where we stand with our reopening plans.  
 
It is our intention to phase in our aquatics programs by early September and our school and after school/programs on or about September 14. We hope to have more detailed programmatic information on our website by the end of August as we work through the many details about staffing, sanitizing and social distancing. (see the list below in alphabetical order).  
 
We are also going to offer “All Day at the J”, a program designed to help families struggling to adjust their lives to the plans being developed by local school districts concerning remote learning (another email about that will be sent next week). 
 
After School Program: Last year we started a new program which was very well received to provide supervised care to children from 3:30-6pm after school, whether or not they attend other JCCMW programs during this time. We plan to restart that program on or about September 14. The program will go hand in glove with the opening and the restructuring of both the public and private school programs in our area. We see this program as one of the ways in which JCCMW will be playing a crucial role in supporting the well being of families in our community.  
 
Aquatics: We hope to have the pool available for use by early September. Our intention is to phase in our teams and private lessons, and then lap swimming. All aquatics programming will be done via online reservations. We will limit the number of people allowed to be in the pool to maintain cleanliness and social distancing. Lockers will not reopen at this time and patrons will be advised to arrive already ready for swimming.  
 
Adult and Senior Cultural Programming: Given the restrictions on in-person gatherings, the age of our patrons, and the plethora of online cultural options, we are still looking for ways to restart these programs. Please stay tuned for more information. In the meantime our staff will continue to curate virtual venues for amazing book talks, museum visits, games, films, and international food fare to all our patrons. Please look for our weekly staff picks in our weekly newsletter. 
 
Dance: We expect the Dance School, adult, youth and child to restart on or about September 9 in much the same way that we have run it in the past but with fewer dancers per studio to account for social distancing. We will also offer virtual classes.
 
Fitness: We are continuing with our successful virtual fitness classes. We will also continue with our virtual personal training sessions. We will evaluate Governor Cuomo’s directives about fitness centers and will communicate more as we digest those and see how we can safely implement them. We are researching ways to have outdoor fitness classes under the tent and will communicate more about this as we know more. 
 
Gymnastics: We have surely missed our gymnasts! It is one of our largest programs and has been hit hard by the many changes we are all facing. We have spent many hours working through safely re-starting a sport with spacing requirements, heavy use of shared equipment, and strenuous physical activity. We have competitive teams and recreational programs that keep our young people healthy and happy and we look forward to seeing them all back at their JCC. We believe that we will be able to bring back staff and restart the program with some limited group sizes by September 14.
 
Nursery School Based on what we know now as we write this email, we have every intention of opening our Nursery school as originally scheduled in the Fall. We were fortunate that our teachers so quickly reacted to the needs of our children and moved to a virtual environment quickly. Class sizes are limited and most classes are already full. If you would like more information about Nursery, or to get on a waitlist, please let us know. 
 
Theatre: We will keep you updated on when we will be reopening our beloved Bendheim Theatre. 
 
Toward Tomorrow: Like Nursery School, Toward Tomorrow will open as scheduled in September. We will follow all government regulations regarding school openings and are prepared to pivot to remote learning if necessary.  
 
We will have more detail about each of our programs and will send communications individually to the various programs as information becomes available. For those families that participate in multiple offerings please be prepared to receive multiple emails from us and PLEASE read them thoroughly as each restart might have its own minor variations.   
 
As we restart the JCC, we will be driven by our values of keeping our community safe and healthy. We will post more information about Covid screening processes and how we will continue to sanitize the facility.
 
Please be on the lookout for the weekly roundup newsletter as that is our first and foremost source of communications with you and our community. 
Stay healthy. 

Karen Kolodny
Executive Director