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How the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga Reopened Safely with Personify’s Help


The YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga has eight branches with around 13,000 membership units and services that include aquatics, resident and day camps, after school and childcare programs, healthy living and wellness, senior programs, and more.

When the stay-at-home order was issued in Tennessee in April due to COVID-19, chief financial officer Jonathan Panter and his team worked quickly to develop a strategy to reopen safely for members when the order was lifted.

Below, he shares his experience executing the Chattanooga YMCA’s reopening strategy, and the role Personify played in making it happen:

What did your reopening plan look like?

The stay-at-home order for Tennessee was issued on April 1, but gyms closed around March 20, and we decided to close on March 18. We were able to reopen with Phase 1 on May 11, and this was really just the wellness floor. We kept Group X, pools, locker rooms, etc. closed. Two weeks later, we moved to Phase 2 and reopened pools for lap swim. We moved into Phase 3 in mid-June and opened many things on a limited basis. Additionally, we have been providing childcare for essential workers throughout the pandemic.

How have you implemented social distancing, cleaning facilities and more?

There’s no playbook on how to reopen and how to function in a pandemic, so I’m proud of how hard our team has worked to safely reopen. We reduced our hours to do a deep cleaning every night, spread all of the equipment out, hired additional staff for cleaning efforts and purchased foggers to do a fog cleaning nightly. Like many YMCAs, we had to furlough staff at the beginning of the pandemic, so we needed to bring people back in when we reopened and get people trained on all of the new procedures.

How are you leveraging your technology tools to keep people safe? And what are you thinking about the future of your organization in a post-COVID world?

We utilize touchless facility scans and leverage scanners as part of Personify360 to enable contactless check-in. We’re leveraging technology for virtual engagement wherever we can to provide support for people, especially our senior members, who may have challenges with social isolation as a result of the pandemic.

The use of technology is going to be key in the future, even if things get back to “normal.” Technology continues to be a game-changer for us. We want to be using our system to its max ability and be able to engage our membership completely virtually if needed. We look forward to taking advantage of Personify’s new functionality, designed to aid reopening efforts like facility occupancy, which allows us to understand how many people are in our facilities and set occupancy limits to account for capacity restrictions set by governmental authorities.


To learn more about Personify’s technology solutions for nonprofits, visit personifycorp.com.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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