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City of Cedar Rapids Plans Summer Pool Operations

City of Cedar Rapids Plans Summer Pool Operations

March 23, 2021

The City of Cedar Rapids is proceeding with plans to open pools this summer with modifications made to follow health guidelines. Plans are flexible to allow for adjustments to be made if pandemic conditions change. A phased approach will be utilized this year.

Noelridge Aquatic Center is scheduled to open for Memorial Day weekend, May 29 through May 31. A special kick-off evening swim at Noelridge and Cherry Hill Aquatic Centers will be held on Friday, June 4, with daily operations beginning on June 5. Bever, Jones and Ellis Pools will open the last week of June, during the afternoons only. This aligns with the City’s traditional practice of phasing pool openings and allows time to assess operations at the aquatic centers and make adjustments prior to all five pools being opened for daily use.

The Parks and Recreation Department anticipates the aquatic centers will be able to effectively meet public needs, even with health guidelines in place. “In previous years our attendance in June was lower due to cooler temperatures and kids getting out of school. We anticipate this will occur again and the aquatic centers will be able to safely handle the demand,” said Scott Hock, Parks and Recreation Director. “We also expect that pool use will grow as the public is vaccinated throughout the early summer months.”

Lap swimming – currently offered at Bender Pool through a reservations system – will continue at the outdoor pools following the same process. Swim lesson classes for Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 will be offered with a parent or guardian in the pool with their child to allow the instructor to safely distance. Classes for Level 4 and above will be held without a parent or guardian, but will be limited in size to allow space to distance between participants.

“Modifications made to safely offer swim lessons will affect the number of classes we can offer this summer,” Hock explained, “We are hoping to expand swim instruction opportunities by opening either Bever, Ellis or Jones in the evening for additional lessons.” The other smaller pools could be dedicated in the evenings to lap swim or open swim.

Additional modifications to early summer operations include requiring masks to be worn except when in the water or eating and drinking, and not using deck furniture. Patrons will be allowed to bring their own deck furniture for the day until pool furniture is available. Lifeguards will be masked unless in the water or on an elevated lifeguard chair. Season passes will not be sold, but adjustments will be made to the punch card system to make it more affordable for those who swim on a regular basis.

The Parks and Recreation Department is currently in the process of hiring staff for pools. While classes for lifeguard and swim instructor certifications are underway, the necessity of holding smaller classes has significantly slowed training time. The phasing of pool openings will assist in getting all staff hired and trained. 

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