I hope this e mail finds you all doing well. The past few days have been trying for our entire community, and hopefully we can provide a bright spot for everyone with a swim season. Another week brought another step in the right direction. Last week, Governor Kemp opened the door a little further, but not quite wide enough for us to give a full go ahead for the season. The move to allow groups of up to 25 people to gather is helpful and may be an opportunity for us to slowly ease our way into the water and a swim season. As we have maintained, we need to get to a scenario where groups of up to 50 people can gather to realistically and responsibly allow teams to begin practices and ultimately have virtual meets.
I know that teams are eager to get the full go ahead from ASA for the season, and trust me, we are just as eager to provide that green light. We know that you have a number of things to accomplish before starting practices. We set a target of June 8 to have a decision, and we will do all we can to provide that decision given the information and guidance we have in hand from state and local officials. As has been the case throughout this challenging situation, we are still dealing with a number of moving parts that are changing on a daily basis. Also factored in are the number of different county and city jurisdictions that govern our communities in the league.
Given the schedule of developments at the state level, we estimate that the next major announcement from the Governor will come either this Thursday, June 4 or next Thursday, June 11. And hopefully that will be a move to larger groups being allowed to gather. June 11 is a few days past the June 8 target we set, but we may ask for a few extra days to be able to get a clear go or no go on the season. It would be regrettable for us to make a call on June 8 and then find out a few days later that we got the answer we needed to make the season a reality.
One area of hope is that local pool management companies have been advising their clients that their pools can operate at 25-33% of their listed bather loads, which in most cases is closer to if not more than the 50 person target we are looking for. While this is welcome news, it is not something we have been able to fully clarify that is allowed by the local and state boards of health. If we can get a clear call on this, then we will make a call to move forward with a season as we discussed in May. However, at this point we have not gotten clear guidance that the larger groups are allowable. With the Governor’s recent proclamation allowing groups of up to 25 to gather, this would allow teams to begin team activities, including practice, in limited numbers and some teams plan to move forward with practices. This may end up being the environment teams have to operate under, but our hope is that we will see a continued relaxing of regulations to make things easier for teams to implement.
The road map forward should look something like the following. Teams will resume practices sometime around June 15 or earlier depending on their pool availability and local governing situation. We will set up another Zoom meeting for teams that will be swimming this summer to review rules and meet processes for the later part of the week of June 15. Will set up Zoom meetings to cover Hy Tek training for the following week. We will set up a coaches’ Zoom meeting for the same week. Details on how to sign up for these meetings will be sent out next week. We will record all of the meetings and make them available for teams to view at their convenience, but your participation is encouraged to allow a good flow of information and to answer as many questions you may have as possible.
I will be setting up another Google form for teams to make a final declaration on their team status. If your team plans on participating this will be a required step to be part of the league for the summer and will ensure your team is covered under the league insurance policy and will be part of the league schedule. Please be sure to complete this form ASAP once you have been sent the link. It will go out to teams early next week, so keep your eyes peeled for that info.
In the meantime, if you have not done so already, you should be formulating your plan for a return to practice. This should include all steps that have to happen from swimmers arriving at the pool, entering the pool area, which areas of the pool and pool deck will be used for practice, how swimmers will maintain social distancing while at practice, and then leaving practice before the next group of swimmers comes into the pool. Hopefully, you have been communicating these steps with your families and how important they are to ensure the safest possible environment for your swimmers and families. If you already have plans in place and want to share those with us, please do so, as we are happy to share as much info as possible.
Several resources from local USS teams and USA Swimming have been shared in recent e mails. Those can be found at https://swimswam.com/return-to-training-under-social-distancing-rules-going-smoothly-for-swimatlanta/ and https://swimswam.com/dynamo-swim-club-to-resume-training-for-senior-group-only-on-thursday/ and https://www.usaswimming.org/docs/default-source/coaching-resourcesdocuments/covid-19-team-resources/facility-reopening-plan-guidelines.pdf?sfvrsn=8a533a32_2 While these provide good guidance for teams, they are by no means comprehensive. Teams should make sure they follow all steps required by their local health officials and pool management companies to provide the safest possible environment for their swimmers and families.
Thank you for recently completing the Google form to let us know what your team’s estimated status is for the season. I have put a recap of this info below. Please remember the team status is not set in stone, I know many of you are still in limbo. Some teams who are listed as competing this summer may end up not making it work, and some teams who are listed as being out for the summer will make it work and will swim. However, this will give you an idea of what teams are doing, and which teams may accept outside members. If your team’s status changes, please e mail me ASAP so I can plan accordingly. If you don’t see your team listed, please e mail me your status ASAP. We need that info to estimate the ribbon order and to ensure team’s that are swimming will have insurance coverage.
A recap of the advised steps from CDC and the state of Georgia regarding pool operation can be found at http://fultoncountyboh.org/boh/media/attachments/2020/05/20/covid-19-guidance-for-public-pools_5.13.20-002.pdf .
Guidance from the CDC regarding steps for providing a safer environment for your pool once it hopefully opens can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/parks-rec/aquatic-venues.html?fbclid=IwAR34WKnT9kJhPjauq5CPTZGEoYAMPgqGjv5K49ujzMFUUEr7MXVSRQAzTvk .
Your pool management companies should already be taking steps to ensure they follow these guidelines, but you will want to coordinate with them to do all that you can to safeguard your facility and teams. These companies have done a terrific job of keeping neighborhoods informed about what steps need to be followed to get your pools open and operating safely.
Thank you again for your patience throughout this situation. Your support and desire to make the swim season a reality mean the world to the league and all of your families. Each day seems to bring positive news that should allow us to have a season this summer. Thank you for remaining positive, I remain optimistic we will make this happen and hope to see you on deck this summer.
Updated Team Status – June 2, 2020
Take care and stay healthy,