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Scarsdale Municipal Pool Opens its Doors for a Summer of Safely Enforced Fun

main poolOn July 18th, the Scarsdale Municipal Pool Complex opened for its 52nd season. This is the latest opening day the pool has ever had, and the conditions under which it has opened are certainly different from ever before. Dan Walczewski, Recreation Supervisor and Aquatics Director for Scarsdale Parks and Recreation, worked alongside the rest of the Recreation Department to create a comprehensive plan that allows the pool to run smoothly yet still follow health guidelines.

surveyDan and his team have formulated a list of policies for Summer 2020 that comply with the NYS Department of Health, which can be read here. The rules mainly focus on lowering the pool complex’s capacity, enforcing social distancing guidelines, limiting lap lane capacity and swim time, and ensuring that members enter the complex with facemasks. The pool also gives a survey to members upon entrance, where they must confirm that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, have not tested positive for the virus within the past 14 days, and have not been exposed to someone who is COVID positive, or has symptoms, within the past 14 days. Under these clear rules and regulations, members are able to enter the complex and enjoy a day at the pool amidst the summer heat.

snack barIn terms of the other amenities at the pool complex, such as the snack bar and the playground, social distancing continues to be enforced. There are signs located around the snack bar reminding patrons to wear facemasks, as well as to regulate one-way foot traffic that enforces social distancing. Moreover, the playground is only available to children 10 and under with adult supervision. The Social Distancing Ambassador staff monitor it as well as sterilize it during their rounds.

The pool continues to offer private Swim and Dive Lessons. Instructors either wear a plastic face shield in the water, or conduct the lessons from the poolside, whichever the parents and children prefer.

Attendance at the pool has been moderate, but never enough to threaten the ability to safely social distance. The current max capacity is 1,300, but the complex has yet to exceed 500 people thus far. In past summers, the Scarsdale Rec Camp has sent hundreds of kids to the pool each day to swim. Without camp in session, it’s no surprise that attendance is lower than usual. With the July heat currently at full force, attendance has surely increased. The pool staff has done a phenomenal job keeping track of all attendees in order to ensure social distancing is possible and present. To help pool members stay informed on the complex’s capacity, the staff uses Scarsdale Village’s email/text alert system to send out notifications if the pool reaches 50%, 75%, and/or 100% capacity.

social distancingWhile the Scarsdale Pool has implemented policies that allow for both safety and fun, it has not come without a cost. Dan describes some of the challenges he and his staff have faced this summer: “In general our visitors have been very respectful of our rules, though we do have to give reminders on occasion to people who forget to wear their masks when walking around the facility or try to exit via the breezeway. This is a place where so many people have spent so many summers and never had to think about these things before. I do think that as the season progresses, they will become habits, and we won’t have to give as many reminders.”

Despite these challenges, this uncertain time period has also allowed for some silver linings. Dan commends his pool staff, the Recreation Department, the Village Manager’s office, and the Board of Trustees and Mayor for the teamwork they have continuously exerted throughout this process. Without the collaboration across these groups, the pool would not have been able to open and function with the necessary rules and regulations.

diving pool“But even with all the changes to our lives that COVID-19 has brought about,” Dan notes, “one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to the safety of our pool visitors and staff. Although it’s a bit later this year, I’d officially like to welcome everyone to the 2020 pool season.”

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