COVID-19 Strategy

Chicago Blue Dolphins pledges to make COVID-19 safety it’s number one priority as we reopen our business to private lessons and small group classes.  We have redesigned our business location, our processes, and our teaching approach to incorporate the recommendations of the CDC and the Illinois and Chicago Departments of Public Health.

It is our goal to communicate, educate, implement, and enforce safety standards that meet and even exceed these recommendations.  If we work together and follow these guidelines, we should be able to considerably reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission during swim lessons.

As you consider starting swim lessons, it’s important to understand that the CDC has determined that there is no evidence that COVID-19 can spread to people through recreational water in swimming pools.  To read about the CDC’s findings and get additional information, head to the CDC’s Healthy Swimming page.  While the pool water is safe, we face the same problems as other business in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission

Our overall objective is to reduce close person-to-person contact for prolonged periods of time.   We’ll break our COVID-19 strategy to reduce this risk into four categories:

  1. Social Distancing
  2. Health and Prevention
  3. Cleaning
  4. Staff Reorganization

Please Note:  As we move from one reopening phase to another and as we learn new information about the virus, our policies will change.  As we make changes, we will update this page and send out email and social media notifications.

Social Distancing

Entry and Exit

  • One Parent or Caregiver per Swimmer — To reduce the number of people waiting in the pool room, we ask that only one parent or caregiver come with a child into the Swim Studio.
  • Entering the Swim Studio — You will wait out in our hallway at one of our 6 foot markers until a Customer Advocate lets you into the Swim Studio.  The Customer Advocate will be responsible for maintaining proper distance
  • Head Directly to the Pool Room — We will not be using the lobby area for storage during Phase 3 and Phase 4.  You will take all of your gear, take off your shoes, and head directly to the pool room
  • Exit out the Back Door — Rather than leaving through the front door on Elston, we’ll have you leave out our emergency exit that takes you out to Webster Ave.

In the Pool Room

  • Assigned Seats in the Pool Room — We have spread out the seats in the pool room to be at least 6 feet apart.  We will assign you a seat to store your gear and wait for your class
  • Ordered Entry to the Pool — The coaches will call swimmers over to enter the pool in an orderly fashion and eliminate bottlenecks at the ladders
  • Dress for the Lesson — To reduce bottlenecks in the bathrooms, we ask our families to dress for the lesson and do a “deck change” to before getting into the pool
  • Social Distancing in the Pool — We will reduce our class sizes and spread our students out in the pools to ensure that we are maintaining 6 feet of social distance
  • Use Showers and Changing Areas after the Lesson — After the lesson, you can use the showers and changing areas.  We ask you to be quick when changing to keep the numbers in the Swim Studio well below capacity

Class Scheduling

  • Padded Lesson and Class Times — We will schedule our classes 40 minutes apart to ensure that we have at least 10 minutes to get one class out before the next class starts.
  • Staggered Classes — We will stagger our classes for each pool by 20 minutes, so we don’t have two groups entering, waiting, taking a class, changing, and exiting at the same time

Health and Prevention

Health Monitoring

  • Staff Health Checks — We will ask our staff to take a short questionnaire each morning before coming to work to determine if they have any symptoms or have been in situations lending to becoming infected.  If they fail the questionnaire, they will not come to work.  Upon arrival, we will take and record staff temperatures.  If they have a fever (greater than 100.4F), we will send them home immediately.  If a staff member starts to exhibit symptoms during the course of the day, we will send the staff member home immediately
  • Student and Caregiver Health Checks — We will conduct the same checks on our students and caregivers before allowing you to enter the Swim Studio.  We will ask you a basic health questionnaire and take your temperature using a no-contact infrared thermometer.  If you fail the health questionnaire or have a fever, we will send you home and reschedule your class or lesson at no charge.  Please Note:  This information will not be recorded.
  • Communication of Infections — If a staff member, student, or caregiver contracts COVID-19, we will contact act by phone all parties who could have been in close contact with the infected individual.

PPE Requirements

  • Masks Required at All Times Outside of the Pool — We require that all staff, students, and caregivers wear a mask when outside the pool.  The mask must cover both the nose and the mouth.
  • Students do not need a Mask in the Pool — When in the pool, a student doesn’t need to wear a mask.  The CDC cautions against wearing a mask because the cloth could cause breathing problems when wet
  • Instructors wear Face Shields in the Pool — Our instructors will wear face shields when teaching the in pool.  Instructors demonstrating a skill will take off the face shield and then put it back on when the demonstration is complete.

Hygiene

  • All Students and Caregivers should Wash or Sanitize Hands — We will have hand sanitizer throughout the facility.  You can also use the soap and sinks in the bathrooms to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Drinking Fountains are Closed — The drinking fountain in the pool room will not be available during Phase 3 or Phase 4
  • Use Deck Shower for Pre-Lesson Rinse — Please rinse before entering the pool.  Body oils, dirt, lotions, or other cosmetic products will consume the bromine.  We want to keep the bromine levels up to help fight the virus
  • Do Not Eat or Drink in the Swim Studio — Please refrain from snacking or eating when in the Swim Studio

Cleaning

  • Cleaning Zones — We have broken the Swim Studio into 5 cleaning zones.  We will perform CDC and Health Department recommended cleaning and sanitizing at opening, mid-day, closing, and throughout the day for high-traffic areas (e.g., bathrooms)
  • Multiple Toy and Equipment Sets — We will break up our equipment and toys into smaller batches, so each lesson or class gets a fresh set of gear
  • Cleaning Teaching Areas — Our instructors will take time between lessons and classes to sanitize any toys and equipment used during the previous class.  They will also sanitize the ladders and the coping around the pool between lessons.
  • Outside Cleaning Service — We will have an outside cleaning service come in every night to do a deep clean and sanitation to get ready for the next day

Staff Reorganization

We have increased the number of staff on site during the working to make it possible to meet all the COVID-19 health, safety, and cleaning guidelines.

  • Deck Manager — The Deck Manager will be responsible for social distancing, health and safety, cleaning, and issues resolution on the pool deck or bathrooms.  The Deck Manager will also assist the Coaches in making sure that students and caregivers are social distancing while in the pool area
  • Customer Advocate — The Customer Advocate will be responsible for doing student and caregiver health checks, controlling entry into the Swim Studio and the pool room, backing up reception for questions, and cleaning the office, lobby, and back exit areas
  • Coach (Expanded) — The Coach will be responsible for making sure that the teaching area is clean and sanitized between lessons so every lesson starts with a fresh space.

Because we have to staff so many additional roles without business, we will not be able to have instructors as available as in the past.  Additionally, we might need to move our coaching availability around as we move between Reopening Phases or if coaches contract COVID-19 and need to quarantine.  We ask that you be flexible with class times and coach assignments because they might need to change.

Additional Resources

Please click the following links to review videos or articles containing supplemental information about our COVID-19 strategy.

  1. COVID-19 Strategic Plan Webinar (June 18, 2020)
  2. Video — Entering the Swim Studio and Going to the Pool Room

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