Coronavirus interrupted lifeguard training for Springfield-Greene County pools

Published: May. 17, 2020 at 10:34 PM CDT
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Memorial Day Weekend normally starts the season of cannon balls and splashing around in the Springfield-Greene County pools but this year is different.

Jenny Fillmer Edwards,with the park board said there's many factors playing into whether the outdoor pools open.

"One is the pool capacity, one is the availability to train and certify lifeguards and one is to hire lifeguards," said Edwards.

Edwards said things got complicated back in March when lifeguard certification and training classes were interrupted to the Coronavirus.

"We can't open the pool until we have enough lifeguards to operate the outdoor pools," said Edwards.

Even if they resume training it could break the guidelines of social distancing.

"We're not able to provide training because it does require contact in the pools," said Edwards. "It's not realistic for lifeguard training to not touch each other. You have to prove you can pull out a body."

Social distancing isn't the only issue either the Springfield-Greene County Park Board can't hire new lifeguards because the city has a hiring freeze.

Edwards says the American Red Cross is extending lifeguard certifications that are about to expire for another 120 days.

While the indoor pools are planning to open at the end of May with only a capacity of 25 people, Edwards says there's still a lot up in the air.

"We're very eager to open these pools," said Edwards. "We're very eager to get things back to normal with our aquatics program. We know that our family center members and the general public are very eager to know when we're opening. There's just so many variables that are up in the air and we're working towards that goal."