Tips for Limiting the Spread of COVID-19 in Pools

By Laura Otto
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As pools begin to open for the summer in some areas of the U.S., community association managers and boards of directors are responding to residents’ concerns about being able to maintain social distancing and enjoy swim time safely.

Community Associations Institute created the Healthy Communities guide, a summary of practical advice adapted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to help board members, community managers, and business partners determine how to safely and effectively operate in a world forever changed by COVID-19.

The CDC recommends the following considerations for the safety of those who operate, manage, and use public pools, hot tubs, and water playgrounds—which also are relevant to pools in community associations.

  • Consider closing pools and hot tubs or limiting use to essential activities only, such as water therapy.
  • Limit pool use to only staff and residents. Restrict the number of people allowed in locker rooms at one time (if applicable) so that everyone can stay at least 6 feet apart.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces, such as locker handles, light switches, knobs, countertops, benches, etc., daily if not more frequently. Ensure proper operation and maintenance of pools and hot tubs and disinfect them with chlorine or bromine.
  • Make sure that lifeguards who are actively working are not also expected to monitor handwashing, use of face masks, or social distancing; assign a staff member as a monitor instead.
  • Designate a staff member to be your facility’s point person for responding to COVID-19-related concerns. Stagger or rotate shifts to limit the number of staff present at the aquatic venue at the same time.
  • Consult with the company or engineer that designed the aquatic venue before altering features such as water slides and structures designed for climbing or playing.
  • Familiarize yourself with local or state policies that list requirements or recommendations to determine if events such as aquatic fitness classes, swim lessons, swim team practices, swim meets, or pool parties can be held.
  • Avoid group events, gatherings, or meetings both in and out of the water. Exceptions to social distancing include anyone rescuing a distressed swimmer, providing first aid, or performing CPR with or without an automated external defibrillator, and individuals in the process of evacuating an aquatic venue or entire facility due to an emergency.
  • If planned events must be conducted, stagger drop-off and pickup times as much as possible to maintain social distancing.
  • Ask parents to determine if small children are capable of staying at least 6 feet apart from others.
  • Establish a protocol so that staff, patrons, and swimmers can report if they have symptoms of COVID-19, a positive test for COVID-19, or were exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the past 14 days.
  • Disclose any suspected or known COVID-19 cases to local health authorities and notify staff, patrons, and swimmers (as feasible) of potential COVID-19 exposures while maintaining confidentiality, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Inform staff, patrons, and swimmers of aquatic venue closures.

To download a copy of CAI’s new Healthy Communities guide, visit www.caionline.org/Coronavirus.

Disclaimer: This information is subject to change. It is published with the understanding that Community Associations Institute is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, medical, or other professional services. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought.​ CDC has not reviewed, approved, or endorsed CAI’s Healthy Communities guide.

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Laura Otto

Laura Otto is editor of CAI’s award-winning Community Manager. A seasoned journalist, Laura previously worked for a creative, advocacy agency in Washington, D.C., where she wrote and edited content for a variety of public health clients. Prior to that, Laura served as a senior writer and editor for the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Laura is a graduate of Temple University in Philadelphia.