[Swim] Lessons in the New Normal
From the time my oldest child was just 18 months old, we made swim lessons a priority. We were lucky enough to have Goldfish Swim School so close by with a very flexible schedule for class options.
Years later, we would have all three kids in swim lessons. My oldest daughter in their Glider-level swimming, my son in a Junior-focused lesson, and my youngest daughter in the Mini sessions with me at just 4-months-old!
We continued to attend swim lessons through the winter since each of my children enjoyed it in their own way. It kept them active in the cold months of Michigan weather and prepared them for the upcoming summer time in the pool.
Then, COVID happened. Goldfish was one of many businesses that had to shut down for months. My kids missed going terribly but understood why we had to stay home.
Once Goldfish was finally able to get approval to open again, they didn't just reopen and act like business as usual. As a company that values the safety of their young patrons, they took the time to really put a plan into place to ensure the continued health and safety of all their swimmers and caretakers.
We were sent a very detailed email about all the new protocols and safety precautions that had been put in place. Goldfish representatives reached out directly to members to schedule lessons again and explain all the new processes.
Children are to arrive ready to swim and cannot enter the facility until five minutes before the lesson is scheduled to begin. Only one parent or caretaker is allowed to accompany each individual child. Masks are required upon entry and can be removed from the children as they enter the pool.
The normal access door for the facility is now an entry only door. A separate exit door was designated to create a better flow of traffic and decrease face-to-face close interaction with other patrons.
An attendant at a separate front desk would confirm that your child/ren and yourself had not experienced any COVID-related symptoms. In addition, he/she would go through the safety precautions as a reminder.
Sticker messages were placed on the floor to designate both the flow of traffic and the proper 6-foot spacing while waiting to enter class. One door was entry only to the pool area and another was exit only.
As parents/caretakers walk their child/ren to their swim lane, each child sits on either side of a plastic partition. Class sizes have been reduced from four to only two per instructor.
The mini class sessions are reduced to only four children (each with a parent) in a section of the pool that has increased in size. The normal toys that were incorporated into lessons are now in separate baskets for each child to then be properly cleaned and sanitized in between lessons.
Each instructor is equipped with a face shield and keeps it on during the entire lesson. In addition, the lifeguards on duty continue to wear masks.
The seated viewing area outside the pool is routinely sanitized and cleaned between each class. As parents/caretakers leave their seats to collect their child/ren from the prior class, two Goldfish employees carefully clean each chair for the incoming class parents/caretakers. Each of the chairs is properly placed 6-feet apart on the marked floor spots.
Upon completion of the lesson, your child meets you at the pools edge of their lane to be escorted out of the pool area. The normal shower area is closed and only swimmers leaving swim class are allowed to utilize the changing rooms. (We leave directly to shower at home.)
All patrons exit through a separate door off the side of the building.
While this may seem overwhelming and too much to handle just for swim class, I can assure you that Goldfish has implemented all processes seamlessly.
As different as it feels from our prior time there before COVID, the new normal has had little effect on how much my children still love swim school. You could even say they didn't really notice much of a difference at all. They are in the pool, swimming with awesome instructors, and having fun!