COVID-19 Correspondence #2: Preparing for the Opening Phases

During this time of COVID-19, I want to let you know that the Board is working hard to open the pool under the guidelines of the Governor and the local health departments in as safe of a manner as possible.  As we step our way through this process, we want to update you with some of the decisions we have made at this point.  Please understand that we do not have all the answers, as things are changing daily, and no one knows what the future holds in this crazy time.

We do know that our area will open up on a phase by phase basis and each step of this process has certain guidelines we must follow and other recommendations that we plan to implement in our daily operation of the pool.  As I write this, we are currently in Phase 0 which means the pool cannot be opened.

We anticipate that Fairfax will be entering Phase 1 at the end of May or the beginning of June.  Under the Phase 1 scenario, we will only be allowed to open the pool for one swimmer per lane for lap swim (this is a maximum of 8 swimmers at one time for our pool) per the guidelines set forth by the health department.  We cannot reasonably open to the General Membership during this phase; therefore, you will not be charged for the time we are in Phase 1.  This means if you have already paid your dues for this summer, we will refund the portion of your dues for this part of the season.  This refund will not be sent back to you yet, because we do not know how long this will last and the amount of the total refund.  Once we can open to the general membership, the percentage of the season in which you could not use the pool will be sent to you within a few weeks.  For example, if it is determined that we can open on July 1st, there would be 75 days left of the season that was originally 108 total days.  Therefore, 70% of the season would be left and you would be refunded 30% of your yearly membership dues within a few weeks after we are able to open (any initiation fee and guest passes remain the same).  Please note, this is only an example and is not trying to predict when we will be able to open to the general membership.  The exact details of refunds will be determined, calculated, and communicated to membership once we are able to open general operations.

Since we cannot open to the general membership during Phase 1, we have decided to try to open the pool as the guidelines allow: for Lap Swimming only. In order to pay for this (since we are not collecting dues) we need each lap swimmer to pay for the time they use. The amount will be $5 per swimmer for a 50- minute session. Obviously, we need to charge this amount to pay the lifeguards and the other expenses of operating the pool. You should have seen the survey for this (and hopefully you responded) and based on this feedback, the Board has decided to try opening for Lap Swim on a 2-week trial basis starting on June 8th, assuming we are in Phase 1 by that date. Please note, you will be receiving an email through eSoft (our pool management software) which will provide the schedule for you to sign up and pay.

For Phase 1 Lap Swimming there will be some guidelines:

  1. Use of the pool will be for 50 minutes (from the top of the hour until 50 minutes after the hour).
  2. Swimmers will need to sign a waiver acknowledging the additional rules and risks.
  3. Swimmers will need to sign up and pay for their time slots ahead of time using eSoft.
  4. We will need at least 6 swimmers to sign up for each time slot.
  5. In addition, the pool needs to be open for a minimum of 2 consecutive hours (to ensure guard coverage); therefore, we need 6 swimmers to sign up for each of these time slots (for example: 6 swimmers for 6:00 and 6 swimmers for 7:00 for a total of 12 swimmers for this 2-hour increment from 6:00 – 8:00).
  6. Any time slot that does not meet this minimum requirement will be canceled ahead of time and swimmers will be notified in advance.
  7. We hope that lap swimmers will sign up for 2 or more times a week.
  8. The administrative burden to manage refunds is significant and all no-shows or cancellations due to inclement weather are considered a donation to the pool operation.
  9. Since the session is only 50 minutes, we strongly encourage you to use your bathroom at home before you come to the pool. If you need to use the restroom at the pool, the family restroom will be available for use (in which the guard will clean after each use).
  10. You will need to shower at home prior to coming to the pool.
  11. You will enter the pool through the gate and go directly to your lane.
  12. Swimmers are to wear masks while they enter and exit the pool (obviously, not while they are swimming).
  13. All swimmers are expected to practice social distancing at all times.
  14. No furniture will be available for use except a chair at the end of each lane for placement of your belongings while you swim.
  15. The timing clock will be on display but no personal equipment will be provided. Each swimmer is required to bring their own equipment including cap, goggles, kickboards, swim floats, etc.
  16. At 50 minutes after the hour (regardless of what time you showed up to swim), you will need to exit the pool and then exit through the gate before the next hour, to allow for the next group of lap swimmers.
  17. Lap Swimmers must be 14 years of age or be accompanied by a separate paying adult. Therefore, if you want to bring your child under 14 you will be reserving 2 lanes for a total of $10.
  18. We hope that this program allows those who choose to participate to enjoy the pool for lap swimming, and with everyone’s cooperation, we hope that we will be able to continue this program for as long as Fairfax remains in Phase 1.

We realize this is not an ideal situation; however, we believe this is the best we can do at this time. Although some of the pools have already decided to remain closed for the summer, we want to enable our members to enjoy the pool to the extent possible. We have established a committee to make plans and evaluate our operations during this time of COVID-19. They will not only be evaluating how things are running during Phase 1, but also planning for additional steps we will need to take to open under Phase 2. Nevertheless, we realize the operation of the pool will not always run smoothly and so we ask for your patience as we try to work through this unprecedented time.

Please note that the Mosby Woods Swim Team hopes to offer some kind of Raider Clinics, a conditioning program for our experienced swimmers, once pool operations appear to be steady. Because the program will involve children, there will be more stringent guidelines that will be released prior to the beginning of the program.

On behalf of the Board,

Stay safe and healthy,

Chuck Monnig