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The aquatic center makes plans for the public's return to the pool later this month.

NEWBERG GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - The aquatic center's popular water aerobics class will not return to the facility until CPRD initiates the third phase of its reopening, officials said last week.

With Yamhill County in Phase 2 of its reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chehalem Park & Recreation District is instituting a handful of changes as it welcomes more people to its parks and facilities.

The biggest headline out of the changes is the upcoming reopening of the aquatic portion of the district's aquatic and fitness center, with plenty of changes on tap once people are allowed back in the pool. CPRD is opening the pool in phases beginning later this month.

The competition pool will be open for scheduled lap swims beginning June 22; the leisure pool will be open for lap and fitness swim, senior swim and exercise beginning on June 29; limited public swim sessions will begin July 6. A number of social-distancing guidelines will be in place, and patrons will have to schedule their time in the water.

"We were anticipating that our opening of the aquatics wing would actually be in Phase 3," CPRD spokeswoman Kat Ricker said. "We are working rapidly to modify our tentative plans for Phase 2 now that we have all the requirements for that phase. We have to rehire staff and train them in our new procedures, especially for our lifeguards to do modified rescue procedures and our staff giving swim lessons."

CPRD staff is preparing the facility under health guidelines by national and local organizations, steadily raising the temperature of the water back to a level suitable for activities. It will take about two weeks for CPRD to hire back the staff it needs to reopen the pool, and not all amenities will be available once it does.

Athletes will be the first allowed to train in the pool, as long as they avoid contact and don't scrimmage with one another in their respective sports. Locker rooms are closed for the summer, as are the hot tub, sauna, drop slide, climbing walls, little lagoon and lazy river.

"We are looking at how to structure reservation systems to disperse people's usage over the course of hours," Ricker said. "This is to observe social-distancing guidelines and keep people safe. We're still polishing what that will look like."

Summer child care programs will continue to adhere to statewide guidelines. According to Ricker, "children will be divided into pods of 10 or less" and will be kept separate from those not in their pod.

Thirty-four summer programs are available for kids of all ages and include gymnastics, dance, music, chess, computer coding and wilderness survival, among many others. Those programs will be limited to groups of 10 or less as well and adhere to social-distancing guidelines.

During Phase 2, the Chehalem Senior Center will be open to the public in a limited capacity, with activities resuming on a gradual basis and the Meals on Wheels program slightly expanded. Sit-down lunch service won't return until Phase 3, though.

Friends Park is coming together and soon will be open to the public on a limited basis. But right now, with COVID-19 limiting the activities people can participate in and hampering CPRD's ability to set up equipment and upkeep the area, it's not quite finished.

"The exciting news at Friends Park is that the playground equipment arrived, but it will take longer to install than anticipated, and we know we will be seeking volunteers to assist us with that," Ricker said. "We still have reduced staff across the board, and we lost a mower recently that a tree fell on. All of these things make for more delayed schedules on getting this park looking the way we'd like it."

CPRD officials are hoping that playgrounds throughout its district will open up soon with safety guidelines in place. The district signed on to a letter written by the Oregon Recreation & Park Association seeking clarification from the governor's office on playgrounds as the county enters Phase 2 of its reopening.

"ORPA is working on a document seeking clarification about some points during Phase 2, and the main one we are concerned with is the issue of playgrounds," Ricker said. "The information we've received has been confusing and sometimes contradictory, and we want to know whether or not we're allowed to safely open our playgrounds."

For more information on CPRD's plans for Phase 2 and to see further updates about the aquatic center, parks and other facilities, visit CPRDNewberg.org. Additional information is posted at individual parks, and patrons at those parks are still encouraged to maintain a safe social distance from friends and neighbors.


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