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COVID Statement May 31, 2021

Dear Barracuda Families,

With the recent adjustments to COVID protocols by the State of Tennessee and the local boards of health, I wanted to clarify where we are as a team. As I mentioned in our COVID Statement on May 6, this entire situation is fluid and constantly under review.

The main emphasis has been and will continue to be on the health and safety of our swimmers and their families. As I am sure everyone is aware, local governments, businesses, schools and other entities have begun to adjust their policies and requirements in light of the availability of vaccinations and revised directions from the CDC. Some of these changes have been straight-forward while others have been less direct. Many policies have placed more personal responsibility on individuals and families to ensure that they are taking precautions appropriate to their particular situations.

We expect everyone to respect each other and evaluate not only their individual and family concerns, but also the impact that their behaviors could have on others.

Vaccinations

We recognize that there are myriad opinions when it comes to vaccinations. We are not requiring everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated, nor are we dissuading anyone from being vaccinated. That is a decision that can be made by each family after consultation with their doctor.

CDC guidelines have recognized that fully vaccinated people can interact more freely with others and have given them more latitude to do so. Prudent societal behavior is still important, but the risk of a person contracting COVID after being inoculated is significantly reduced.

Practice protocols

With both the KAC and the Johnson City Parks and Rec facilities removing some COVID restrictions, here is an update to our protocols:

It is no longer necessary to do a temperature check upon arrival at the pool. Obviously, people who have a fever, whether COVID-related or not, should stay home. Anyone with COVID symptoms should also stay home and consult with their physician.

We have some swimmers who have been fully vaccinated, some who are in the process of getting their vaccines and/or in the two-week window after the last shot, and those who have not been vaccinated at all. It is highly recommended that those who have not been fully vaccinated continue to wear their masks at practice and in the indoor facilities. Masks have been shown by the CDC to lessen the spread of the COVID virus.

The locker rooms in all facilities have been reopened with no restrictions. The locker rooms are also the areas where there will be the closest contact between swimmers and the least amount of air circulation. It is recommended that swimmers continue to arrive dressed for practice to lessen the number of people who need to access the locker room at any one time. Those who do use the locker rooms are strongly encouraged to take appropriate precautions (masks, social distancing) relevant to their individual vulnerabilities.

The CDC has determined that the COVID virus is not transmitted through water and that the chlorine in the pool will neutralize the virus. While in the pool, at the discretion of the coach, swimmers may be allowed to congregate at one end, as opposed to spreading out along the length of the lane.  Care will be taken that adequate space between swimmers is maintained to mitigate possible transmission.

During dryland and weights, swimmers may participate without masks as long as respectful distance is being maintained.

Personally More Restrictive Protocols

Because of personal or family situations, some swimmers may elect to adhere to stricter protocols than are outlined here. That is not a problem. Swimmers should inform their coaches of any group expectations that may be in conflict with their personal protocols and the coach will work with the child to try and find an accommodation.

Family Expectations & Personal Responsibility

Parents should clearly communicate with their children the expectations that their family has in regard to mask wearing and social distancing.  No child will be judged for being more restrictive than the facility rules mandate. Swimmers are expected to be attentive to and correct any actions which may jeopardize their health or that of a teammate.

Swim Meets

Meets may have their own sets of rules and procedures. These will be communicated to the swimmers and families involved prior to the competition. Most meet information will list the health protocols that will be enforced.

Parents on the deck

A large variable in the spread of COVID is the number of people in a group who could possibly spread or contract the disease. While groups of vaccinated people can gather together, the coaches will not be put in the position of playing “inoculation police” with the parents. They will be coaching the swimmers. Therefore, we will continue to have only swimmers, coaches, and pool staff on the deck during our practices. At the KAC, parents may observe from the upper bleachers or the lobby. At Freedom Hall Pool, parents may observe from outside through the windows. At Legion Street Pool, parents may observe from outside the fence or from the picnic area.

Water Bottles

Sharing of water bottles is still prohibited. This is actually a policy that will continue just for the sake of any germ transmission. Some facilities may still not have the capacity to fill water bottles, so swimmers should plan on bringing them from home already filled.

Training Groups

In the past year, we have tried to maintain separate pods of swimmers in order to readily contact trace those who might have been exposed while at a practice. However, we have found that with the full reopening of schools the number of contacts for an individual across various groups has increased. (Think a different group of students in one’s math class and then another group in one’s English class). The nature of our team already puts swimmers in specific training groups. Coaches will continue to keep detailed attendance records so that we can provide as much reliable information as possible if contact tracing is needed.

Training Between Sites

As stated above, the number of people one can now be in contact with has expanded exponentially. We will allow swimmers the opportunity to train at both sites providing (1) that they coordinate their training with coaches from both sites in order to maintain the integrity of their training and (2) they follow requisite health and safety procedures at the site at which they are swimming that day/practice.

Immunization Records

We have had some swimmers voluntarily provide their coach with vaccination records. Swimmers who receive the full complement of COVID immunization may continue to submit proof of such to their coach. The coach will maintain a secure file of those swimmers. Such records will only be used to determine if a swimmer or group can qualify for less-restrictive opportunities.

The following policies do not change:

If a Swimmer Contracts COVID

If COVID symptoms occur, and/or if a swimmer tests positive for the disease, obviously stay home! Isolate per CDC guidelines until symptoms subside or tests come back negative. Notify your coach so we can conduct contact tracing and notification of your teammates. If you know of anyone with whom you were in close contact (less than 6 feet) for 15 minutes or more cumulative time, within the 2 days prior to symptoms or positive testing (whichever is earlier), alert them personally.
The team will either release a statement or individually notify participants who may need to take further action on their behalf.

Quarantine

If a member of one’s household gets COVID, a swimmer must follow the current CDC-required quarantine guidelines. If a school or other group contact-traces a swimmer to an infected individual, they should also stay away from practice until approved to return per CDC guidelines. Notify your coach so he knows what is going on.

Thank you for your continued cooperation as we provide a quality experience for all our members.

Let’s all have a healthy, fun summer.

Coach Chris