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Swim instructors encourage lessons amid pandemic

(KWCH)
Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 6:58 AM CDT
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Swim instructors are getting back to work after COVID-19 put things on pause. Wichita Swim Club made changes in and out of the water.

It all starts before parents and swimmers walk in the door. Doors are labeled entrance or exit only and they're propped open to reduce touch points.

Wichita Swim School has always had a maximum 4:1 student to teacher ratio for lessons. That did not change, but the kids are now more spread out and are encouraged to not touch each other.

For swim team practices, swimmers do not share lines. Extra staff members clean surfaces around the pool frequently, especially the areas where parents watch and where kids wait before their lessons. WSC also has stations to wipe down equipment after each use.

Emily McVay, Director of Wichita Swim School, says the water is properly balanced, so COVID-19 cannot spread in the water.

"It's a bleach product and it has been noted by the CDC that properly balanced and chlorinated water does not spread the virus," McVay says. "So that's been a big benefit for us that it's a safe sport, a safe opportunity that you can do this program and quite possibly come out cleaner than you came in."

Summertime brings afternoons at the pool and days at the lake. Whether kids learn how to swim or not, they will find themselves around water. WSC says that's why parents should give their kids the opportunity to learn how to swim.

McVay says starting at six months old, kids can learn how to self-resue by floating on their back. She says kids need to have a safe respect for water and know they should not get in water without permission of an adult.

Any time kids are in water, an adult should keep an eye on them. It's not easy to teach your own kids how to swim, and McVay suggests signing up for lessons with an instructor.

She says although we're in the middle of a pandemic, it shouldn't turn you away from swim lessons. Swimming is a risky activity if your kids do not learn properly.

"In my opinion, they have a greater chance of dying of drowning than of potentially COVID," McVay says. "It's a matter of life and death when you're talking about learning to swim too."

Even if your kids don't like swimming, it's still important that they learn how. McVay says accidents do happen and although you can't prevent accidents, you can prepare for them.

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