As Missouri moves into Phase 2 of the statewide coronavirus recovery plan, the California pool reopened June 17. California’s Parks and Recreation Department released a list of new rules for the pool during the COVID-19 pandemic.
California Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Scheidt said when working on the new rules, the department had to consider the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance on pools and guidance from the local health department.
“Social distancing, along with proper and frequent cleaning, were the big components, which is why we are limiting capacity and spacing out the swim sessions to allow those cleaning breaks,” Scheidt said. “Those were also the factors in our new swim lesson structure, with them being non-contact and small class sizes.”
When it comes to open swim, there will be two sessions. On Mondays through Fridays, there will be a session from 10 a.m.-noon and from 1-3 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, there will be a session from 1-3 p.m. and from 4-6 p.m. Between these times, the pool will be closed for cleaning and everyone must leave the building at the end of the time period.
There will be a 25-person max capacity for open swim and no one will be allowed to attend both sessions. There will be a sign in sheet required. There will be no one younger than 12 allowed without an adult 18 years old or older.
Lap swim will be 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday mornings and 7-9 p.m. Tuesday nights. There will be a 10-person limit and anyone not following proper procedure will be asked to leave the building.
Water Aerobics will be 7-9 p.m. Thursdays and Sundays. There will be a 15-person max capacity and people must be spread out.
For swim lessons, there will be two classes with a 12-participant max per class. The classes will be 4-5 p.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Friday. Preschool and beginner levels will require a parent or guardian to be with children in the water. There are four two-week sessions available before school starts. The instructors can be in the water to demonstrate, but they must remain 6 feet away from the participants. Private swim lessons will be unavailable until after the group sessions have concluded.
For the California swim team, there will be no meets at the California pool. There will be a 15-person max capacity in the pool and participants must maintain social distancing in the pool and on the deck. Practices will be 6-8 a.m. and 7-9 p.m. Mondays, 6-8 a.m. Tuesdays, 6-8 a.m. and 7-9 p.m. Wednesdays, and 6-8 a.m. Fridays.
In other miscellaneous rules, the concession stand will have prepackaged food only, pool deck furniture should not be moved from its positioning, lifeguards will wear masks when interacting with guests at the front desk and concession stand. They don’t have to have one on while on stand, and no parties will be allowed at this time.
Scheidt said Parks officials will be checking in with the lifeguards to see how things are going.
“Checking in with the lifeguards and working with my head guards to make sure they are doing their cleaning and that they aren’t having any issues is probably the main focus for making sure things are going alright,” Scheidt said.
Making the changes to the rules did come with some challenges, but Scheidt said she was able to learn a lot by talking with other pools around the state and country as well as talking to other professionals.
“It’s always a challenge to make changes to rules and policies because people find change difficult,” Scheidt said. “But I was able to get a lot of insight into strategies that other pools around the state and country are doing by participating in multiple conference calls and webinars through the Missouri Parks & Rec Association. There was occasionally representatives from the CDC, lifeguard training programs, or other health professionals on those calls as well who could help answer further questions.”
Even with the new rules, there is a possibility of the pool being closed again, Scheidt said.
“If there were a substantial outbreak in our county or certainly if it could be traced back to the pool, that would shut the pool down for an indefinite period,” Scheidt said. “As long as nothing like that happens, I think most of our current rules will stay in place for at least the rest of summer. We haven’t had any real issues with our capacity limit so far and the more frequent cleaning policies will likely be the new normal.”