All Your Questions on Safe Swimming During COVID-19 Answered

Today we face a new challenge - how to teach the critical skills of water survival and stroke development while responding appropriately to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re proud to launch our “BSS Cares Campaign,” developed over the past several months in consultation with key industry experts, recommendations put forth by the CDC and OSHA, and the guidance of state and local leaders in our communities.

We are committed to providing everyone with a clean and sterilized environment that enables our critical mission of water safety for students of all ages and abilities while addressing the health and safety concerns presented by COVID-19.

Here’s a quick overview what to expect, please see the very detailed FAQs below all you need to know:

  • Increased cleaning and disinfecting protocols (all toys and swimming equipment are cleaned between each class)
  • One parent/guardian per child in the building, no other family members
  • Hand sanitizer stations
  • Contactless check in upon arrival
  • Taking temperatures of employees before lessons
  • Health questionnaire for employees before each shift
  • Taking temperatures of swimmers before lessons
  • Change rooms will remain closed
  • *** Changing room is limited, please come wearing your swimsuit
  • All deck staff wearing masks
  • Decreased ratio of children in select levels
  • Side/private BSS entrance being used at pool location
  • Modified layouts (one-way flow of the pool deck)
  • Staggered lessons to improve flow on the pool deck
  • Regular communication provided through the BSS App

 

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO RESUME SWIM LESSONS NOW?

 

As activities become available and our lives begin to regain some normalcy, learning how to survive a water incident and also experiencing the fun of learning to swim make it one of the most important activities to return to! Survival and swim techniques are pivotal in preventing drowning and near-drowning incidents, with as much as an 88% reduction in drowning for those who have completed formal swim instruction.

We are sure you have many questions, and we hope to answer them in the FAQs below.

Watch this video for an overview of our British Swim School Cares CAMPAIGN.

Video Play Button

FAQs

 

HEALTH SCREENINGS

Are you testing the temperature of your employees before a shift?

Yes, we test the temperature of each employee before the beginning of their shift, using a touchless thermometer outside of the building. Each employee is also required to fill out a survey with health questions before every shift. If they have a temperature of 100.4 degree F or higher, show symptoms of Covid-19, or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19, we will separate them immediately, send them home and will not allow them into the facility. We have strict CDC guidelines on what to do in these cases.

Are you testing the temperature of students and parents?

Yes, we will test the temperature of every person who before they enter the facility, this includes parents and students. If someone has a temperature of 100.4 degrees F or shows symptoms of COVID-19, we will not allow them to enter the building.

If you or your child have been out of the country, are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, or have come into contact with anyone with a confirmed or suspected case of the virus please notify us before returning to class. We will be asking that anyone exhibiting any signs of illness stay home until fully recovered. In some unusual instances, we may need to ask you to obtain medical clearance to resume lessons.

Symptoms related to COVID-19 include:

Fever or chills

Cough (Dry)

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

Fatigue

Muscle or body aches

Headache

New loss of taste or smell

Sore throat

Congestion or runny nose

Nausea or vomiting

Diarrhea

Are your instructors COVID-19 tested?

All staff members will undergo a Covid-19 testing before we restart our lessons. We currently do no plan on regular re-testing, but will review this policy regularly. All staff will answer health questions and have their temperature checked before each shift.

What happens if any instructors show symptoms?

Employees who show symptoms of COVID-19 are immediately separated and isolated from the pool area, and sent home, according to CDC guidelines. We have extensive follow-up procedures in place to make sure they only come back when they are not infected.

Will I be informed if any staff member or other student is tested positive?

In the case that a staff member tests positive, we will notify every family who has been exposed to this staff member. We will also inform you if we are notified about another student in your class receiving a positive test. We will follow all CDC guidelines on contact tracing and informing possibly exposed persons.

MASKS AND SHIELDS

Will Deck Ambassadors wear Masks?

Yes, all of our Deck Ambassadors and staff outside the water are required to wear a mask or a face covering.

Will Instructors wear protection?

Yes, all of our instructors will wear specially designed face shields.

Are parents required to wear masks?

Yes, we require everyone over the age of two to wear a mask or a face covering while not in the water, at both our indoor and outdoor pools.

Are children required to wear masks on deck?

Yes, all children over the age of 2 are required to wear a mask, except for during swim lessons.

Will parents in a Tadpole and Swimboree class wear a mask?

The CDC advises against mask in the pool so parents will not be required to wear a mask during class. We will, however, require everyone to keep socially distant from other parents. We have adjusted our program to make this easy to do.

CLASS ADJUSTMENTS (TIMES AND SIZE)

Will the schedule be the same as it was before?

No, we are creating brand new schedules for each location. In most locations, we are reducing the size an number of classes happening at the same time so we avoid any overcrowding in the pool and on deck. Please look out for an email with the updated schedule. You will need to make sure that you enroll into a new class.

Are you reducing class sizes?

Yes, we are reducing class sizes support proper social distancing.

• Tadpole: 4:1 (previously 6:1)

• Turtle 2 and up: 4:1 (previously 6:1)

• All others: 3:1 (previously 4:1)

Will you stagger start times?

Yes, all classes will have staggered start times to limit families coming into direct contact with those attending any other classes. Classes will begin and end at different times. E.g. if there are 3 classes going on at the same time, one will start at 5:00pm, the next at 5:05pm and the third at 5:10pm. This will help to keep students socially distanced and classes carefully organized. The new timings will also mean the temporary removal of playtime.

Are you separating adult classes?

Yes, we will separate the adult classes from the kids’ classes, especially the babies and the youngest children. There may be some advanced children doing stroke development at the same time, but no young beginner classes.

Can we have a 1:1 or 1:2 class?

Yes, we are reserving some time slots for private 1:1 and 1:2 classes. Please send us an email or an app message if you are interested and we will contact you.

DIRECT CONTACT WITH CHILDREN

Will the instructors still be in direct contact with the students?

Direct contact will be limited as much as possible throughout all our lessons, but it will depend on the class level. In our survival classes, the instructor is still required to have some contact with the students. Once you return you will see that we have developed new ways to reduce the amount of contact needed, as well as how we implement physical distancing and separation.

Will there be improved physical distancing between the students within their class?

Yes, we have taken several steps to increase physical distancing:

• Survival Classes: Students will be spaced out on the poolside and a mat will mark the where each child should sit.

• Stroke Development Classes: There is only one-way swimming in each lane and no passing, with an appropriate distance between swimmers.

• Tadpole and Swimboree classes: Parents will keep a safe distance from each on the deck all the time.

• The instructors and deck ambassadors will avoid close contact whenever possible

Can I be in the pool if I am not comfortable yet with an instructor holding my child?

Yes. If they choose to we will now allow parents to join in with the class in all levels where this has not previously been required.

• Swimboree: If you prefer to work with your child 100% of the time and not pass it on to the instructor, that is absolutely acceptable.

• Seahorse, Starfish and Minnow: If you would prefer to be in the water and work with your child instead of the instructor, we now allow for this. The children are also more spaced out on the poolside and fewer in numbers, so you won’t be too close to the other students.

Our philosophy is: After such a long break, the main focus in these levels is to get the students being comfortable back in the water, and enjoying it. There may be some loss in progress and skills that we need the child to recover, and a parent involved may be helpful with this.

Do parents need to wear a mask in the water?

No, parents will not be required to wear a mask during class, it is against the CDC safe swimming guidelines. We are, however, allowing it at your own risk.

CHANGES IN OUR LESSON METHODOLOGY

Does the signature BSS teaching method change?

The teaching fundamentals at the heart of our aquatics program will not change, so your child will still love being in lessons with us. However, in addition to the safety precautions mentioned above, adjustments to the delivery of our program will be made as necessary and will be tailored to the situation in each pool and region. Our long-term commitment is to return, when safe to do so, to our traditional swim family interaction and closer student contact – key to our gentle, fun and progressive offering.

Will there still be playtime?

Yes, there will still be playtime, as it is an essential part of our program. We will have less toys however, and no noodles. Any toys in use will be cleaned and disinfected after each use. We will also monitor social distancing during playtime (except for siblings). We highly recommend bringing your own toys.

What about the swim rings? Are they safe?

Swim rings will continue to be part of our program, but we are not sharing used swim rings amongst students. After each use, the rings will undergo a cleaning procedure with EPA approved disinfectant, so all students will always receive a freshly cleaned and disinfected ring.

*** We do recommend purchasing your own swim ring from us, writing your student’s name on it with a sharpie and bringing it to the pool for each session.

What about toys?

We will limit the toys to solid balls and nothing that fills up with water. We will have less toys however, and all toys will be cleaned and disinfected after each use. We will also monitor social distancing during playtime, except for siblings. We highly recommend bringing your own toys.

Do students sit close to each other on the poolside as before?

No, we will create a bigger distance between the students. We will have mats indicating where each student should sit. Smaller class sizes and less classes at the same time enable us to do this.

Will there be social distancing during class?

Classes taught simultaneously will be spaced apart following these guidelines to maximize physical distance during lessons.

Will you do your famous High- Fives?

No clapping high-fives! We are introducing contactless “Air High-5s”. They are just as much fun!

Do parents need to wear a mask in the water?

No, the CDC does not recommend wearing masks in the water.

Do we still sing in Tadpole classes?

Singing in close proximity to another person is not encouraged, but we still use songs whenever our social distancing rules allow for it.

CHANGES ON DECK + SANITATION OF COMMON AREAS

Are the locker rooms open?

No, locker rooms are closed, only the bathroom is open. They are sanitized regularly.

Are showers open?

No, showers are closed, the outdoor facility also has NO TOILETS. Please be aware of that and plan ahead. We also encourage all students to shower prior to lessons to help us maintain the chemicals used in the pool.

Where can I change?

We ask that children arrive for class with their swimsuit on, this will limit the total amount of time spent at the pool and reduce contact with high touchpoint changing tents and equipment.

Please come “ready to swim” and immediately leave the facility after your lesson. We have learned in other states that wearing a bathrobe and bringing two towels is a good practice to adopt, and kids enjoy it. We do have additional changing tents available, which will be disinfected after every use.

Do you have hand sanitizer on deck?

Yes, we have several “Sanitation Stations” with touchless dispensers of hand sanitizer as well as disinfecting wipes. We will encourage all swimmers and their guardians to properly wash/sanitize their hands before and after each lesson.

How often do you clean and sanitize the deck?

• We regularly disinfect the chairs and benches and all high-touch areas like doorknobs and handrails, including the pool stairs’ rail.

• We clean the pool deck and the mats where the students sit after every 30 min session

• We deep clean the facility at least 1x per week.

How do you maintain social distancing on the pool deck?

There will be fewer people allowed on deck. We will have very low capacity limits, and visitors will be spaced out on chairs and benches with 6 feet distance in between.

What about air flow on the pool deck indoors?

Wherever possible, we will increase airflow from fresh air into the pool area.

What else are you doing on Deck?

We have temporarily removed crayons, toys and any non-essential items from waiting areas and the pool deck and will transition to other celebrations instead of our usual high-fives – just for the time being - to be extra careful!

CROWD CONTROL

Will you limit visitors to only one parent or guardian per student?

Yes, we are allowing only one parent or guardian to accompany a child to their lesson. This includes the pool deck and viewing area.

Will there be less people on deck?

Yes, due to the class size limit, as well as the reduction in classes, we will now have far fewer people on deck as we had before. This will support good social distancing behavior.

Will the entrance and exits change?

Yes, for several locations. For example, at the JCC you will enter using the 45th street directly into the pool area. You will not go through the main entrance. The deck ambassadors will monitor the entrance and exit to avoid congregating. Our Deck Ambassadors will monitor and guide traffic flow into and out of the pool deck. We ask that all our parents and students abide by these new “traffic patterns,” which may have changed since the last time you attended lessons.

POOL WATER SANITATION

Can the pool water carry the virus?

According to the CDC, “there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, or water playgrounds. Additionally, proper operation of these aquatic venues and disinfection of the water (with chlorine or bromine) should inactivate the virus.”

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html

Is the pool water chlorinated?

Yes, every one of our pools (even the saltwater pools) have the necessary level of chlorine to deactivate the virus. The chlorine levels are checked every hour and maintained at a level high enough for disinfection and low enough for safe swimming.

WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO KNOW?

New Waivers will need to be signed!

Each family is required to sign our new waiver. Please do this by logging into the parent portal online or the Mobile App. You will automatically be prompted to re-sign . The best way is to download the App and log in today.

Download our App!

Download our Mobile App, we will post important safety information within the app, plus you can now schedule all Make-Ups through the App and report your absences!

Call Center Availability

Our call center hours will remain limited. The best way to communicate with us is via email and self-serve through our Mobile App. Staffing our call center to our previous levels will not be possible until we have almost all our pool open again. We thank you for your understanding in the interim

PLEASE REMEMBER:

 

  • Come “Swim Ready” in your bathing suit, locker rooms are closed. We recommend a bathrobe.
  • There are NO TOILETS at the outdoor location.
  • You will be screened upon entering (contactless temperature check, must be below 100.4F)
  • Masks are required on deck, also outdoors
  • Please limit the amount of personal belongings you bring, and only bring the most necessary items.
  • Ask us about privates or semi-private lessons if you would like to schedule these.
  • Please follow the Deck Ambassadors orders. They are asked to strictly enforce all safety policies and not be lenient. They are only doing what we ask them to do.
  • Consider purchasing a swim ring so you don’t have to use ours ( even though they are disinfected)
  • Review and sign the the new waiver online
  • Download the Mobile App, it will be an essential tool moving forward.

 

And the most important action to remember:

If you, or anyone you have come into close contact with is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or any flu-like virus, please notify us of your absence and do not attend the class. We ask that you make sure you are fully recovered before returning to lessons.