Sabrina Keeton is one of those workers.
Keeton specializes in interventional radiology at Philadelphia VA Medical Center and her husband works in IT at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
"Since we both work at a hospital and my whole entire family works at a hospital, they can't watch them for us," she says of her five-year-old and seven-year-old daughters.
It was a relief when Keeton found out about the YMCA's newest program, aimed at helping hospital employees and essential workers get through the coronavirus pandemic.
"We've gotten waivers from both the state government and the mayor's office to provide childcare relief for hospital and social service workers," said Shaun Elliott, President and CEO of the Greater Philadephia YMCA.
The YMCA is offering (or preparing to offer) childcare services for essential workers at the following locations Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.:
- CHRISTIAN STREET YMCA, 1724 Christian St, Philadelphia, PA 19146
- COLUMBIA NORTH YMCA, 1400 N Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19121
- WEST PHILADELPHIA YMCA, 5120 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19139
- ROCKY RUN YMCA, 1299 W Baltimore Pike, Media, PA 19063
- HAVERFORD YMCA, 891 N Eagle Rd, Havertown, PA 19083
- WILLOW GROVE YMCA, 3300 Davisville Rd, Hatboro, PA 19040
- NORTHEAST FAMILY YMCA, 11088 Knights Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19154
- PHOENIXVILLE YMCA, 400 E Pothouse Rd, Phoenixville, PA 19460
Hospitals like CHOP help workers cover 20% of that cost, which can be as low as $30 a day for an elementary school-aged child, but Elliott says the program is not about making a profit.
"Really, this is not about cost," he said. "It's about our duty to provide the service when it's needed most."
The kids get daily structured activities in an environment that also pays close attention to health.
Every person who enters the building is screened for coronavirus symptoms, answering questions about their travel and having their temperature taken before being allowed in. Crews have also done a deep cleaning of the building.
"Everything is fogged, scrubbed and deep cleaned," said Elliott.
For parents who are working so hard during the pandemic, this provides peace of mind.
"This is amazing that they have this program for healthcare workers," said Keeton.
The YMCA plans to keep the program going as healthcare workers continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We are there for the folks as long as they need us," said Elliott.
If you'd like to donate to help support the program, or if you are an essential worker who needs childcare, click here.
You can also call the YMCA at 215-220-9199.