The Rodney Heights Aquatic Centre (RHAC) has been operating under “new normal” policies since June 2020. Since reopening phases have started across the island, the team at RHAC have implemented various procedures and “Covid-19 policies” to keep both patrons and staff safe from any potential spread.
According to Dr. Diane Worrell, Managing Director, RHAC researched various procedures and policies suggested by World Health Organizations (WHO), Center for Disease Control (CDC) as well as information from our local CMO office and Environmental Health.
“The changes and protocols included the standard social distancing, use of handwashing and hand sanitizer as well as wearing face masks when not in the water. Additionally, an online scheduling tool was implemented to allow single lane users to schedule time in advance. Further, tracking systems and reduced lane usage have been implemented so swimmers are assigned specific lanes to allow for social distancing measures in the water as well as out”.
Moreover, implementation of regulated chlorine by automated systems allows the necessary levels of chlorine to be filtered through the pool water as per CDC recommended guidelines. According to CDC information, “There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.” The spread seen in news stories from various countries around the world has always included the lack of social distancing measures followed or implemented.
During the last 90 days, the Aquatic Centre has mainly been utilized by swim clubs such as SeaJays, Sharks, and Lightning Aquatics but several individuals have also maintained regular schedules. RHAC has also started their various learn to swim programmes for children, adults, and “baby and parent”. Over the last month to six weeks has seen the addition of Soca-Fit into the outdoor venue space as well as other personal training and fitness programmes – all scheduled during their own time slots to minimize interaction among groups.
While no one knows what the future holds, Dr. Worrell looks toward when they can host swim meets and other clubs from other countries come to visit again. Noting that the RHAC Invitational swim meet for 2020 has to be cancelled due to the pandemic, she is hoping to host this meet which would normally bring nearly 400 swimmers under “the new normal”. “It may not take place in the same format as the past, but we are looking towards the opportunities of the future,” Dr Worrell mentioned.
As per Dr. Worrell, the greatest concern for the facility at this time is “staying healthy”. To stay healthy, not only does each corporate entity need to layout guidelines but each individual person needs to take responsibility as well. This includes social distancing practices as well as diet and regular exercise. As cited in Insider, “The health benefits of swimming can include cardiovascular fitness, stress relief, and a reduced risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.” Join the Rodney Heights Aquatic Centre today for one of the many programmes they offer to stay healthy and learn to swim. Remember, we are surrounded by water!