AUSTIN (KXAN) — The YMCA of Austin is offering support to families looking for help during those first three weeks of mandatory virtual learning when school starts.

Your child can go do their work inside an Austin Independent School Building under their care while parents go to work. It’s an extension to the YMCA’s current summertime essential programming.

Back in June, Governor Greg Abbott allowed the YMCA to lease out AISD buildings for their childcare needs.

The YMCA has extended those leases until the beginning of September and are allowing families to register for help during those weeks.

“After 20 weeks doing COVID-safe programming, we’ve gotten pretty used to all of the precautions. Kids have been very safe and we’ve had very few symptoms,” said Dr. Joan Altobelli, the Vice President of Licensed Childcare for the YMCA of Austin.

Dr. Altobelli says there are temperature screening every morning and classroom cleanings happen once per hour. Masks are worn whenever possible.

Altobelli is planning on keeping classrooms to around 10 children per classroom per teacher.

“We’re in a small part of the building. We know which rooms each children have been in every day. We know which adults have been with those children. If anybody comes up with a symptom in that classroom, we immediately close the classroom,” she said. “We’re able to trace exactly which children, whose parents need to be notified.”

The program is open to all families and those who register will be taken to one of 10 different locations currently being offered.


  • IDEA Parmer Park: August 11—Sept. 18
  • Austin Achieve: August 17—Sept. 4
  • Baranoff Elementary: August 18—Sept. 4
  • Galindo Elementary:   August 18—Sept. 4
  • Joslin Elementary:   August 18—Sept. 4
  • Patton Elementary:   August 18—Sept. 4
  • Ridgetop Elementary:   August 18—Sept. 4
  • North Austin YMCA:  August 18—Sept. 4
  • East Communities YMCA:  August 18—Sept. 4
  • YMCA Camp Moody (AISD):  August 18—Sept. 4

For working mom, Dennesha Johnson, the YMCA of Austin has been a lifesaver during the pandemic. She and her husband are essential workers and have needed a place to take their six-year-old Aura.

“I have not had a day off from the pandemic,” Johnson said. “I Feel like they are taking all of the precautions and safety for the kids during this time.”

This virtual learning support is only for kids aged 4 to 12 years old. It costs $195 per week, per child.

Reach KXAN’s Education Reporter Alex Caprariello by email at or by phone at (512) 703-5365, or find him on Twitter and Facebook.