This is a press release from YWCA Cortland.
YWCA Cortland will close its main facility located at 14 Clayton Ave. in Cortland and all programs to the public at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17 until further notice. Its Aid to Victims of Violence (AVV) program will continue to provide critical services by appointment only unless in an emergency. The Crisis Hotline (607-756-6363 or 1-800-336-9622), will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, as usual.
YWCA leadership determined this closure is necessary in response to: the State of Emergency issued by Cortland County on March 15; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s mandate to close gym facilities on March 16; and, guidelines regarding best practices for social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis established by reputable health authorities, such as state and county health departments, the United States Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
“We recognize that many in our community will miss connecting with their social networks through the various programs offered at the YWCA,” said Kelly Tobin, YWCA Cortland’s Executive Director. “However, because we take the health and safety of our members, staff, volunteers, program participants, visitors, and community members seriously, we believe this is an action we must take.”
“YWCA remains committed to serving our community now and in the future, after this situation has passed,” Tobin continued. “Now more than ever, we need the support of those dedicated to helping us achieve our mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. If you are able, we encourage our donors and members to continue the financial support that will be crucial in the days to come.”
The AVV program encourages anyone needing services to call 607-753-3639 to schedule an appointment unless they are experiencing an emergency or crisis situation. Then they should call the Crisis Hotline (607-756-6363 or 1-800-336-9622), which will remain available 24/7. The AVV program has suspended support and educational groups, off-site presentations and community outreach, and off-site intake work, except for crisis intervention, until further notice. AVV staff will follow strict infection control guidelines for all scheduled appointments.
YWCA has canceled until further notice all Bridges for Kids and GEMS (Girls: Empowered, Motivated, and Successful) individual and group meetings and activities. Although volunteer mentors have been instructed to no longer meet in person with their mentees, YWCA has encouraged them to keep in touch with the children they have been mentoring through phone calls as this type of contact is crucial during this time of crisis. Families in the Bridges for Kids program should feel free to contact Mindy Gardner, YWCA’s Mentoring Director, by email at [email protected] if they are experiencing needs in the home and she will do the best she can to find help and serve them.
The Health & Fitness program canceled all of its programs and classes and closed the weight rooms, pool, cycling area, gymnasium, and multi-purpose room at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, March 16.
YWCA Cortland’s Daycare and School Age program will close to the public at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17. It will reopen child care operations on Thursday, March 19, to serve only those individuals identified by Cortland County as essential personnel in maintaining needed services and resources in the community during the State of Emergency. Essential personnel employers include emergency response professionals, medical professionals, child care professionals, etc. A full list of these employers can be found on the YWCA website (https://cortlandywca.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Child-care-letter-w-tier-1-list.pdf).
At the time of this release, YWCA staff will continue to report to work on a limited basis and front desk staff will be available to answer questions by phone at 607-753-9651 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. YWCA is dedicated to keeping lines of communication with the community open. It will post updates on its website and social media pages as changes in operations occur.