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‘Safe and happy’ return for swim schools following coronavirus lockdowns

Swim school teachers, parents and children have been enjoying a safe and happy return to swimming lessons following the coronavirus lockdowns.

As the country re-emerged from lockdown, the Swim England Learn to Swim team visited Aqua Aims Swim School to see the Covid-19 measures that were in place.

Some examples of changes that have been introduced are parents joining their children in the water if their child is a beginner swimmer, teachers and teaching assistants delivering from poolside, one-way systems and social distancing guidelines.

Swim England has provided guidance documents for both swimming lessons and school swimming, with key points summarised in the below video.

One parent, Vicki Salvage, admitted she was slightly apprehensive before returning with her son Henry but says she felt ‘really safe’ and that the restrictions do not impact on her son’s learning.

She said: “I’m really happy with what they’ve done [at Aqua Aims].

“The sanitisers on the door are brilliant, the separate changing areas, it’s been really well thought out and I feel really safe.

“Henry’s been super excited, he’s missed swimming so much during lockdown.

“He kept saying ‘when’s swimming opening mummy?’ He was so excited to come back and he really enjoys it.

“I was able to prepare him for the little changes and being here, all your anxieties and worries have kind of gone. They’ve done a really good job.”

Vicki was one of many parents throughout the evening of lessons who were in the pool helping their child.

She explained that being in the water ensures that the children are still able to be directed while teachers stay at a safe social distance.

“The instructions are really good, the teachers are so enthusiastic,” Vicki added.

“They make sure that the children really understand what they’re meant to be doing and correct them from the poolside as they would have done in the pool.”

Great to be back

Like many children, nine-year-old Troy Matheous couldn’t wait to get back to learning how to swim.

He said: “I’ve missed swimming a lot. It’s by far the thing that I’ve missed the most during lockdown. It was really fun and exciting coming back.”

Swim school owner and teacher Brad Fowler echoed that excitement as he described the measures that are in place at Aqua Aims.

“We’ve read all the guidance and it’s worked really well so it’s great to be back.

“We’ve got a really good system, so we’ve got cones for the children to stand at when they’re waiting for their turn to start and then as the lesson begins they have to line up next to their own cone so we can always keep them two metres apart.

“The parents for the beginner swimmers – it helps a lot having them in the pool because without that they wouldn’t be able to swim.

“It’s obviously been very different. Keeping the children organised and getting them to remember why they’re staying apart is a really big thing, but as they are lined up at their own cones we can always keep them moving to make sure that they are socially distanced and it’s working really well.

“We’ve sent a text message and emails to all of the parents with the rules so they all knew what to do when they arrived.

“We’ve made a video as well, like a virtual view of inside the building to walk them through so they know exactly what to do and the children are getting the hang of it really well.

“We’ve got the social distancing signs up which is working great. The children are loving it and most importantly they’re all really safe.”

Post-lockdown guidance has also been produced for parents and teachers.

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