Across Minnesota, YMCA fitness centers, shuttered during the COVID-19 outbreak along with other gyms, are reopening Monday to provide child care while K-12 schools remain closed in the pandemic.

Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday that the state had authorized the YMCA to open 38 child-care sites across Minnesota during the coronavirus outbreak. Previously, Y kindergarten through sixth-grade child-care sites had closed, except for emergency workers’ children.

Now, the sites can expand to take K-6 students of other critical workers during the pandemic — from teachers to grocers. The Ys will open Monday to provide learning programs and care from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week.

“It’s unprecedented: We have the whole building for child care,” said Greg Waibel, the chief operating officer at the Twin Cities nonprofit. “We’re trying to be creative.”

The YMCA expects to bring on about 200 staff statewide at the child care centers. Fifteen other early childhood learning centers also have 500 openings for children right now.

The sites will follow social distancing and other guidelines from the CDC during the outbreak. To learn more, go to