St. Albans pool to open for lessons and swim team this month

Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 6:52 AM EDT
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With summer in full swing now, the St. Albans city pool is opening at the end of the month and staffers are working hard to reduce risks of spreading coronavirus.

Some residents say they are looking forward to taking a dip in the city pool.

"Great that it's opening up. Good chance for the kids to get out, spread their wings, have fun," said Terry Coppenger of St. Albans.

Others worry it will be difficult to stay safe in the water.

"It just doesn't feel right, right now, I don't think," said Erica Terwilliger of St. Albans. "The main visitors of a pool are probably going to be kids, and they don't really have that six foot really drilled into their brain."

But the city's recreation department says it's taking every precaution possible to reduce that risk.

"Our pool is clean. Our pool is properly chlorinated," said Kelly Viens, the recreation director.

According to the CDC, coronavirus can't survive in a properly chlorinated pool, so pool staffers say they feel comfortable teaching swimming lessons and hosting the city's swim team.

Temperatures will be checked before anyone enters the property and hands will have to be thoroughly washed before anyone can go into the pool.

The recreation department says because St. Albans Sharks Swim Team students can't compete in meets across the state, the Vermont Swim Association created an online platform where kids can race in their team's pool and post their results.

"It gives kids a way to stay active, stay competitive, see where they are against other swimmers in the state that they don't usually meet until the end of the summer," said Viens.

Viens says most of the team has already registered for the summer season.

She says staff will be especially careful with younger swimmers, by having no contact at all.

For the first two-week sessions starting June 22 and June 29, with about 90 swimmers signed up between both, preschool-aged kids must be accompanied by an adult who can get in the water with them.

"Midway through this first session, we'll reevaluate and see where we are, see where the state is and what those recommendations are," Viens said.

Viens says her team is still working out ways to host a public swim during the summer season. Usually, the pool is open to the public a few hours during weekday afternoons and evenings and all day on weekends.

"We're thinking maybe we'll have one-hour blocks, and you'll come in for an hour or 45 minutes, and then we'll disinfect," said Viens.

Disinfecting will be a part of the regular routine as at least two staff members will constantly be wiping down frequently touched surfaces like handrails.

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