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Local facility opens this week for swim camp, lap swim, water aerobics and hourly party rentals

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The Prineville swimming pool will not host the traditional open swim as in years past, but people can rent the facility for up to two hours for parties of 25 people or less.

The Prineville swimming pool is opening this week but with several limitations because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and physical distancing mandates.

"It will be open throughout the day with exclusions on what you can do at different times," explained Eli Tomlinson, the recreation coordinator for Crook County Parks and Recreation District.

Days will start with lap swim from 8-10 a.m. This is the only activity that will not require pre-registration. Pool operators are required to keep contract tracing information on all patrons, but since lap swim is limited to six lanes, Tomlinson said it is easy to record who utilizes the facility.

Swim camp will follow from 10 a.m. to noon.

"The reason we are calling it swim camp instead of swim lessons is they are going to look a bit different this year," Tomlinson said. "There is still going to be a swim lesson, it's just going to be slightly shorter. It is going to be formatted a little differently just because we have to work within the regulations of Phase 2 pool requirements. We are going to fewer people in the pool at a time. The way the instructors handle the students will look different (with as little contact as possible)."

Water aerobics will follow from noon to 1 p.m. and then a second swim camp will be held from 1-3 p.m. Once that concludes, the pool will close until 3:30 p.m. to allow time for a deep sanitation of the pool.

"It doesn't change any of our practices. We have always cleaned before and after swim lessons anyway," Tomlinson said. "But this is a scheduled deep sanitation where it will be a full-on cleaning of the entire facility."

Open swim will not be allowed at the Prineville pool this summer, but the district will instead provide two hour-long blocks of time (3:30-4:30 p.m. and 4:45-5:45 p.m.) where people can rent the pool for recreational use.

"People can rent one hour or the full two hours," Tomlinson said. He added that the cost will be $50 for one hour and $100 for two hours. Up to 25 people are allowed per rental party and no physical distancing will be required.

The price is intended to cover the expense of lifeguards, which cost about $25 per hour of work.

While the pool is reopening, the splash pad, which is also operated by the parks district, will remain closed. So far, district leaders have not been able to get clear guidelines for splash parks, even though they are under the same Phase 2 guidelines as pools.

"Another piece is the monitoring. We are required to have monitors at our pool and we would be required to have a monitor at the splash park — someone there who is basically keeping everyone 6 feet apart unless they are within their family group," Tomlinson said. "With the pool, it is really easy because we have lifeguards. They can transition from the stand to go to monitoring, to go to the front desk, so that we can have a rotation."

Ultimately, the parks district is doing their best to decipher the regulations and provide as many opportunities at the pool and splash pad as possible. But Tomlinson points out that Phase 2 has enabled them to meet their most important pool-related objective.

"If we can do nothing else, we need to figure out how to teach kids how to swim," he said.


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