Today, we were delighted to hear that the Welsh Assembly Government has announced its plans to re-open swimming pools in Wales from the 10th August.
Significantly, as compared to the current government guidelines in England, the Welsh Assembly Government also announced that from 3rd August 2020, children under the age of 11 years old will NOT need to socially distance from each other or from adults in Wales.
What does this mean for swimming lessons in Wales?
Children aged 3-10 years
- Swimming lesson providers in Wales can teach children aged 3-10 years to learn to swim WITHOUT the restrictions currently being recommended in England, such as teaching from poolside or spacing children out in the swimming pool for social distancing purposes.
- This guidance only applies to children’s swimming lessons for ages 3-10 years, where there are no parents in the water with the children – just the children with one teacher in the water.
- If an assistant is used within the lesson then the teacher and assistant would still need to socially distance from each other, but not from the children as per Welsh Assembly Government’s guidance.
Children aged 11 plus
For children aged 11 plus (generally advanced classes), social distancing of 2 metres still applies as per the Welsh Assembly Government / STA pool re-opening guidance.
Baby & Pre-schoolers
For Baby & Pre-school classes (generally 0-3 years old), because the parent is in the water with the baby / infant then the ‘pairs’ will still need to socially distance from each other as per the Welsh Assembly Government / STA pool re-opening guidance.
Important Factors To Still Consider
- It is recommended that all lessons, for all age groups, are risk assessed in line with the guidance set out by the Welsh Assembly Government and STA (see page 12 of our guidance for free risk assessment templates).
- It is recommended that all swim schools / pool operators in Wales apply all reasonable mitigating control measures to still reduce the chances of COVID-19 within swimming lessons e.g. using back-to-back or side-to-side working (rather than face-to-face) where possible.
- Maximum Bather Loads should also be continued to be adhered to, in line with Welsh Assembly Government / STA guidance. Note: that while for under 11s, social distancing measures have been relaxed, there is still a maximum bather load capacity for swimming pools. Please refer to STA’s Bather Load Calculator here.
- All other public areas of the leisure facility (see page 24 onwards in our guidance) such as changing rooms, reception areas etc, social distancing measures must still be maintained due to the children having an adult with them.
- The use and cleaning of pool equipment – please refer to page 35 in our guidance.
Keep up-to-date with the Welsh Assembly Government’s guidance here.
All of this Wales-specific guidance will be added to our main swimming pool re-opening guidance on Monday (03/08/20).
Credit: Thanks to Chris Bateman, STA Tutor, for contributing to this guidance for Wales.