Risk-management organization recommends that pools stay closed for the summer

Published: Apr. 24, 2020 at 9:09 PM CDT
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The organization that manages risk for Nebraska cities and towns wants leaders to think about whether or not to have pools open this summer.

To prevent the potential spread of COVID-19, Dave Bos, Loss Control Manager for League Association of Risk Management , strongly suggested that communities keep their public swimming pools closed. LARM is a risk management pool made up of 170 Nebraska public entities.

“Elected and appointed officials have tough decisions to make. This one is about a trade-off of our kids having a fun place to spend their summer afternoons or potentially saving lives in our communities. While swimming pools are a quality of life issue, they are unfortunately outweighed at this time by COVID-19, which is a quantity of life issue,” Bos said.

Some officials had expressed hope that social distancing would keep kids safe in pools.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through properly treated pool water. However, according to LARM there is a definite concern the virus could be spread in the pool bathhouses, restrooms, on pool ladders, slides, and pool lounge chairs.

Bos said there is always a contamination factor when you put several people in a relatively small area. It would be difficult to maintain social distancing in most swimming pools, especially with a group of children.

“We’d like to think that public swimming pools are a safe place for kids to spend time, but we’re dealing with a pandemic with a lot of unknowns," Bos said. "From the Governor’s office to city and village officials and citizens alike, Nebraskans have done a great job thus far in establishing and following DHMs to limit the spreading of COVID-19. The fact of the matter is, the virus is still making its way across Nebraska and putting lives in danger. For this reason, schools, businesses, and playgrounds have been closed and many social events have been canceled across the state. There currently is no vaccine for COVID-19 and not opening municipal swimming pools for the season is a way our communities can help stop the spread.”