Local swimming pools adapt to COVID-19 precautions

Thursday, June 18, 2020
Local swimming pools adapt to COVID-19 precautions

Mary Kepler of Lewistown (not shown) has been training the lifeguards at the Hobson and Stanford Pools throughout the past couple weeks. As part of a training exercise on Monday, she taught Stanford’s lifeguards how to use the floatation to get another across and out of the pool. Photos by Melody Montgomery

So far June is off to a swimming start at the Stanford and Hobson pools, both opened last week.

Just a few weeks ago, whether they would open was unknown, but as Montana moved into phase II of “Re-Opening the Big Sky,” pool managers were able to convince their respective town councils they could safely proceed. Re-opening plans were also approved by the Central Montana Health District.

Lifeguards in Stanford this year are Grace Burns, Kiniti Flood, Trinity Metcalfe, Mariah Schott, Makayla Bossen and Kara Reed, with Sandra Bossen as their manager. Bossen stepped up to manage the pool late in the season last year in order to keep it open.

Hobson lifeguards are Dakota Auck, Molly Cunningham, Karlee Morris, Becca Lynn and Rhett Patnode. Neally Campbell has returned manage the Hobson Pool for another season of swimming.

Both swimming pools are operating at 75% capacity, which shouldn’t be a problem. In Stanford, this reduced capacity still allows for as many as 77 people to be in the pool, and in Hobson, it allows for 33 people.

“Fortunately, bleach kills coronavirus,” said Stanford Pool Manager Bossen. Her team of six lifeguards also regularly sanitizes railings, goggles, surfaces, faucet handles, etc.

In Hobson, Campbell is glad the town voted to approve the opening of the pool, noting that kids need something to do to stay out of trouble, and the swimming pool offers a safer alternative to lakes and rivers.

The main changes in Hobson is the capacity reduction, as well as a sign-in sheet that indicates residence, checking in and out, spraying hands, constant cleaning and sanitizing, not using the locker rooms and keeping the chairs six feet apart.

There will be now swimming lessons this year, but there will still be fun in the sun.