Hello, Old Farm Pool community. The Pool Board would like to thank you, our members, for your support during this unprecedented time. Here is the information we currently have regarding Summer 2020.
To begin, we are very happy to report that more than 200 families have signed up and paid their 2020 dues. This support is a testament to the strength of our pool community. As a result, we have sufficient funds on hand to operate the pool this summer, and estimate that we have sufficient funds to credit 40 to 50 percent of your dues to next year in the event the pool does not open. To be clear: It is our hope that the pool will still open this year, but at this time, we can not guarantee that it will. In the event the pool does not open, we will notify the membership with further details about the crediting process. We know it is difficult for members to invest money in the pool under such uncertain circumstances, and we really appreciate that so many of you have stepped up to do that.
As you may have read or heard, Montgomery County did not follow Governor Hogan’s decision to open pools, but decided to wait until the county is in phase two of its reopening. We do not know when that will occur, but we do have some information on how the pool will be required to operate during a phase two opening. This information is based on guidance from the State of Maryland, Montgomery County, and the CDC. As this is an ever-evolving situation, our rules and procedures are subject to change.
We hope everyone understands that the last couple months have been a huge work in progress with very little guidance from the county and no previous situation to consider as a precedent. Mistakes will be made along the way. We will do our best to react to member feedback and ultimately provide best practices for a safe and fun summer at the pool for everyone.
The Board realizes that many people in our community may have financial or health- related issues or may not feel comfortable attending the pool this summer. We are providing information in this letter so that members will get a sense of how the pool will operate if and when it opens. We ask that you consider the information below and then complete a survey we will be sending to all members in which you will be able to indicate whether you think the pool should open, and whether you and your family will use the pool if it does. The survey also will provide an opportunity for members to ask questions and express their concerns and/or suggestions. All of this information will be considered when the board votes on whether to open the pool.
As stated in our previous letter, our pool management company has indicated that the pool will be able to open approximately two weeks after the board votes to open for the summer. This two-week period is needed to allow for lifeguard staffing and implementation of the rules set forth by the county, which have not been finalized. The board’s vote will take place once the county establishes an opening date and establishes the procedures we must follow. The board will consider many factors in deciding whether to open, including the opening date, the monetary impact of a late opening as well as special operating procedures, and the desire of the membership to open or remain closed.
If the pool does open, there will be several procedures in place to facilitate a safe environment. These procedures will be at least as stringent as those required by Montgomery County, the Maryland Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Based on already released guidance and anticipated restrictions, we expect many new rules and procedures, which are as explained below. Please keep in mind that these rules and procedures are subject to change based on final guidance from Montgomery County, as well as issues that may arise following our opening.
1. There will be a maximum number of members allowed at one time, a number that will be determined by the size of the pool. We do not know exactly what that number will be; however, we estimate about 100 members at a time although it could be as few as 50 and as many as 150.
2. There may be no guests allowed this year. Only members may be allowed on the grounds. Caretakers may be allowed with special advance permission.
3. A reservation system will be utilized that permits families to reserve a block of time to come to the pool. We anticipate the time slots will last approximately 2.5 hours. We plan to reserve some time slots for adults only. Procedures and rules will be created to make the sign-up process as easy as possible.
4. Members will be required to electronically sign a waiver on our website before using the reservation system. The waiver releases Old Farm Pool from any liability related to a Covid-19 illness.
5. Members will be required to sign in to ensure compliance with the mandated capacity. Entry and exit may be from the parking lot gate or entry may be through the guard house with exit through the gate. Capacity limits will be strictly adhered to.
6. Pool staff will space tables and chairs on the grounds in such a manner as to provide at least 6 feet of spacing for families occupying tables and pathways for walking around the pool deck. Members should maintain a 6-foot distance from non-family members.
7. Several aspects of the pool will likely be unavailable to members, including:
a. Baby pool
b. Basketball court
c. Volleyball court
d. Shuffleboard court
e. Ping-pong tables
f. Play structure
g. Kickboards and noodles
8. Members will be allowed to bring their own chairs, kickboards, and noodles.
9. Members will not have use of the pool’s grills; however, already prepared food, snacks, and beverages might be permitted at tables.
10. Unrelated swimmers will be required to maintain a minimum six-foot physical distance while in the pool. It is possible that the pool will be limited to lap lane swimming only, with one person or family permitted per lane.
11. Staff and members may be required to wear face coverings when outside of the water, whenever possible. Masks will not be required while in the pool itself.
12. The pool operator will be required to maintain a supply of soap and hand sanitizer for members.
13. The management company will be required to disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least twice daily and clean floors, toilets and sinks with soap and water daily. We anticipate that pool staff will be required to disinfect tables and chairs during the 30-minute period between member time slots. (Disinfecting wipes may be available for members to wipe down their tables and chairs themselves.)
14. Members who are not feeling well, are on home isolation, have been in contact with an infected person, or have been infected with Covid-19 should not come to the pool without consulting a health care provider and following their provider’s instructions.
15. If a pool member who visited the pool becomes infected with Covid-19, or is suspected to be infected, we will follow guidelines provided by Maryland and Montgomery County with regard to informing members.
16. Members will be responsible for maintaining social distancing to ensure the health and safety of their family as well as the health and safety of their fellow members. In addition, members will be responsible for supervising their children at all times while in the pool and on the pool grounds. Please be aware that the pool may be forced to close if social distancing is not followed. Alternatively, members may be disciplined or suspended for repeated violations.
17. The management company has stated that lifeguards are at the pool to protect swimmers and will not be responsible for enforcing social distancing. Members will be required to monitor their family unit at all times and should not approach lifeguards about enforcing social distancing.
18. Safety issues (other than social distancing) should be brought to the attention of the pool operator and we welcome comments, concerns, and complaints via email.
19. If the pool does not open this summer, we expect to partially rent out the pool to one or more private swim teams and swim instruction companies. This will enable swimmers of all ages to maintain their swim skills while also recouping some of the expenses that must be paid regardless of whether the pool opens.
We thank you for your support and consideration during this time and hope you and your family remain safe and healthy.
The Old Farm Pool Board