Many Deerfield residents have been asking about the availability of the swimming pool this summer. We know our pool is the quintessential summertime destination for a lot of you, as a gathering place for cooling off, getting to know each other, and building relationships.
The Trustees have been diligently working together with management on a plan for safely opening the pool. This has included taking into account the best advice and guidance of other parties, including the CDC, our pool management vendor, and the town of Natick. We are currently completing all the tasks that the Board of Health requires for a pool to open.
The largest obstacle we face is lifeguard coverage. The pool management industry is heavily dependent on the US Exchange Visitor Program, which allows international students to travel to the United States to work for the summer. Due to the COVID-19 concerns, many countries are not issuing visas allowing students to work in the US. Without this resource, we are placed at a disadvantage in adequately staffing the pool.
Nevertheless, our pool management company is currently interviewing and training domestic guards who are just now beginning lifeguard certification renewals. Their success in recruiting and training an unprecedented number of domestic lifeguards in such a short time period will largely determine our ability to offer pool hours at some point this summer.
Please be assured that in the light of these significant challenges, the Trustees have allocated significant additional resources to the management office, in support of a pool opening. We plan on sharing an update shortly after the Fourth of July. Much as we’d like to be open for swimming in time for that holiday weekend in particular, it appears that we won’t be able to achieve that goal—speeding up the process is simply beyond our control.
Please know that the Trustees and management want to ensure a responsibly managed and safe environment at the Deerfield swimming pool. We truly hope to see that desire fulfilled at some point in this challenging summer of 2020. We appreciate your understanding as we navigate these unprecedented times.
Deerfield Board of Trustees