Frequently Asked Questions, Summer 2020

QUESTION: How did you develop the new operating procedures for the pool?

ANSWER: These all come from official guidance published by the Governor of Virginia and the Virginia Health Department. The intent of these is to remind everyone that we still need to do all we can to stop the spread of COVID-19, while allowing for fresh air and exercise. Links to this documentation can be found on our website here, and we encourage everyone to read these documents. If we are found to be breaking these rules, the penalties are steep – a Class 1 misdemeanor and closure of the pool facility.

QUESTION: Who is responsible for making sure everyone follows the new rules and procedures?

ANSWER: You are. And I am. We all are! But the lifeguards are not, as they are required to focus on in-water safety. Unless we want to hire a full-time COVID-19 security officer for the summer, and raise dues to cover the cost, we are all responsible for self-policing to make this work. Please remember to be courteous about this, or as the Virginia Health Department says, “It’s a good time to be kind!” **Thou shall assume everyone is trying their best to follow the rules.**Thou shall be polite and friendly when reminding others to follow the rules.**Thou shall not take offence if someone reminds you to follow the rules.** If you have a concern, please contact a board member.

QUESTION: Why isn’t the pool putting out deck chairs and other furniture? I promise to clean it myself!

ANSWER: The Virginia Health department clearly states all furniture must be cleaned first with soap and water, and then sprayed with a disinfectant per CDC instructions (which include sufficient drying time) between each use. It also clearly states that the pool facility is responsible for this cleaning. Please bring your own deck chair instead.

QUESTION: Why must everyone stay 10 feet apart? I thought the social distance guideline was 6 feet?

ANSWER: Public health experts determined that when a person is exercising and breathing heavily, they must stay 10 feet away from other people to minimize the risk of potential spread of COVID-19. The Governor and Health Department are assuming that people in the water are exercising, and therefore breathing heavily, and so should stay 10 feet away from other swimmers. They also assume that people will still be breathing heavily on the deck as they recover from their exercise, and so people of different households must remain 10 feet apart on the deck.

QUESTION: Why must swimmers who live in the same house stay 10 feet apart in the water?

ANSWER: This is a strict rule imposed on us by the Governor and the Virginia Health Department, and we have no say in changing it. They determined that it is too difficult for pool managers to know if swimmers are really part of the same household or not, and imposed this rule to err on the side of safety. Remember, we must do all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

QUESTION: Why did you close the playground area, baby pool, and clubhouse?

ANSWER: This was a difficult decision for us to make as a board, and we understand it’s probably frustrating. The baby pool is closed because it is not a space for “lap swimming, diving practice, exercise, or instruction”, and because the space is too small to allow for adequate social distancing. The clubhouse is closed because the space is also too small to allow for adequate social distancing. The playground and pavilion area will remain closed until (or unless) we can develop procedures for adequately enforcing social distancing, and/or cleaning and disinfecting the picnic tables.

QUESTION: It seems like you have set up a summer that makes it impossible for families and children to enjoy the pool. Can’t you allow for recreational swimming when only families are at the pool? After all, chlorine kills COVID-19!

ANSWER: The decision to strictly prohibit recreational swimming or “free swim” is being made by the Governor of Virginia and the Virginia Health Department, and we must adhere to it. Disobeying this (or any of Virginia’s guidelines) could result in a Class 1 Misdemeanor and closure of the pool for the season, which no one wants! Parents are encouraged to come up with ideas for “exercise” and “instruction” for their children, regardless of age or ability. The pool board will provide examples to parents if they need ideas to help them get started.

QUESTION: Kids aside, what is the difference between “free swim” and “exercise” for adults?

ANSWER: We need you to use your best judgment here, as exercise depends on the individual. The Virginia Health Department conducted a webinar on this topic, and explained that exercise is considered to be continual movement in the water with some structure to it. For example, continually walking in the shallow end is exercise for some. Slowly swimming laps – even if it’s only one or two at a time – is also exercise. Kicking down the lane with the help of a noodle or kickboard is exercise, as is treading water in the deep end. Two people next to each other in adjacent lanes, slowly kicking at the same pace while using pool noodles and chatting with one another….that sounds like free swim, unless one person is giving a lesson to the other. We can’t give you a complete list of do’s and don’ts, but please be honest and use your best judgement.

Laura Kistler
Hollin Hills Pool President