Anders and his four-year-old daughter, Emily, are counting down the minutes until swimming lessons begin with excitement. With her towel and goggles ready, they drive to Richcraft Recreation Complex in Kanata on a hot summer day. Emily loves the water and she is glad lessons are back.
The pool at Richcraft is a familiar place and a few changes exist since they last visited in the winter. First, they have a quick screening check-in and sanitize their hands. Then they don their cloth masks and follow the one-way arrows to the pool – all measures to keep them safe from COVID-19. Behind the scenes, staff are frequently cleaning and disinfecting common areas, high-touch surfaces, change room and washroom facilities, and lifejackets.
The swimming lessons have also been modified using Provincial guidelines and advice from Ottawa Public Health, which sold Anders and his wife to sign Emily up when pools started to open in July.
“Emily is a very active, sociable child, so not being able to swim, dance, or take part in other activities has been difficult for her,” remarked Anders. “We wanted to get her in to something as soon as we could, but we needed to make sure we were comfortable with all the protocols in place.”
One big change proved to be a positive experience for both Anders and Emily. Parents and guardians are required to accompany younger children into the pool to help with the lessons – allowing physical distancing between the child and instructor.
“Getting in the pool with Emily is something I love,” added Anders. “I love having that one-on-one time at the end of my workday and helping her learn a new skill. The instructor is still teaching all the techniques, but I am there to help if she needs physical support. We have a great time!”
Anders enjoyed the experience so much that he and his wife signed up for two lessons a week.
Interested parents and guardians can register their children at ottawa.ca/swim. There you can see what courses are available and check out all the COVID-safety protocols in place.