MEDFORD, Ore. – Summer is here, but after Medford joined Ashland in announcing that it’s only public pool will be closed all summer due to coronavirus, locals will have less options to swim.
For children, who often learn to swim in summer, having limited options this year is a big loss. Which is why it’s more important than ever to stress swimming safety.
“Adults need to be watching the kids so even if they are not a trained life guard, we call them water watchers,” Brad Russell is the CEO of the Rogue Valley Family YMCA in Medford. “Swim lessons are the most important thing we do in our swimming pools. When we put together our priority lists of activities that happen in our pools swim lessons are right at the top,” said Russell.
His facility has swimming lessons on hold right now, but he says there’s still things families can do to be safe.
“Most importantly have a water watcher, wear your life jackets,” said Russell.
Russell says a water watcher locks in on kids in the pool to prevent any drownings.
“Anybody can do it. They’re not distracted by looking at their phone or reading a book or doing anything else. But they are watching the waters,” said Russell.
While the YMCA in Medford and Ashland are holding off on swimming lessons right now, the YMCA in Grants Pass will start offering swimming lessons in July. ABK, a private facility in Medford, says it’s offering swimming classes as well starting June 17. An official for Club Northwest in Grants Pass says it to is working on offering swimming lessons in the next couple weeks.
While we may not know exactly what swimming lessons will look like during the coronavirus pandemic, we do know kids will have an opportunity to learn to swim this summer.