May 15, 2020
I wanted to bring you all up to date on they types of things that are going on in the background regarding the path to re-opening. I am now participating in 3 different groups that are making efforts to get us back in the pool. One is the SI swimming task force, another, a California swimming task force, and now Game On San Diego, which is just SD county, but a comprehensive effort for all sports.
I'd just like to cover the most recent zoom call I was on. Today I was on a 2hour + conference Zoom with 215 people representing sports organizations throughout S.D. It is spearheaded by county supervisor Kristin Gaspar. First a little beaurcracy . . . The Governor has the power to reopen things or not. If the power is not specifically granted by him, then groups, cities, areas, etc can request that they be allowed to re-open (and it must be also approved by the local public health officer (Dr. Wilma Wooten)) and it is reviewed on a case by case basis. The counties are the next highest level in the chain of command, and the governor communicates with them regularly for input. So the SD county board of supervisors (5 of them) weild a lot of authority.
In any case, most sports are not scheduled to be re-opened until phase 3 or 4, which will be well off into the future. Supervisor Gaspar said that the criteria for phase 3 are very strict and given that San Diego county is the 5th largest county in the entire U.S. (I didn't know that) with 3.3 million residents , it will be a long time before such a large county is able to hit the extremely low COVID numbers required for us to hit stage 3 let alone 4.
To give you the condensed version, she (Commissioner Gaspar) is submitting a proposal to Governor Newsom on Tuesday. She read through the proposal today, and is taking feedback from the meeting to revise a few things but here are a few key points:
-fixed groups of 12 or fewer -- can have multiple groups but those groups must socially distance from one another and cannot interchange any members from day to day.
- multiple protocols for proper sanitizing of environments.
- limit to only necessary contact within group. no high 5's / chest bumps / hugs etc. Having the understanding that some contact may occur.
- no equipment sharing between groups
- no carpools outside family units.
-specific areas for personal items.
That is an extremely condensed version but the biggest two things from a swimming standpoint is groups of 12, (because it falls in line with what they've already approved for daycare facilities). And also while distancing within that group is encouraged it will not necessarily be required at all times. For swimming this would allow multiple people in a lane to swim past each other.
This was not part of the meeting but, now is a good time to throw in that when we are allowed to restart, we would stagger swimmers at stations within a lane so they are not gathering on the wall together at the same time.
Once revised, she will go over her plan with the public health official to make further revisions, and it will be posted (I assume by Tuesday, but she may wait until after submitting to the governor) on the gameonsandiego.com website.
This seems like the most active approach so far. SI swimming coordinated with the CA swimming task force to send a letter to the governor last Monday, but so far we have crickets on that, so having something spearheaded by a county supervisor, given that counties are second in the chain of command, seems very hopeful.
Assuming the plan is given the green light by the governor, then those who are actually in charge of pools have to follow suit. From what we can tell, this is the type of thing that most of them are waiting for: First a governor's okay, second the county (supervisors and health officials) okay, and finally getting okay's more locally if needed (like local mayors). Then the school districts and other pool operators will begin giving the green light.
Oh I love beaureaucracy. In any case, we are simultaneously working with the Kroc center on protocols that they may require. We will get all of those out to you as they are finalized. Here is a generic facility re-open plan from USA swimming that will give you an idea of the things we will be adhering to. The specifics will develop as we get top-down approval.
We are very hopeful that this will take place prior to June 1.
Finally, we understand that there will be a very wide range of eagerness to return to the pool. Some of you may not hesitate at all to have your kids back in the water with CAST, while others may be hesitant. Here are a couple of key points:
1.The CDC says there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools.
2. Exercise tends to strengthen immunity, and we will stay away from "break them down every night" type of training for at least the first month (and possibly many months depending on future advise from health experts).
3. Kids are in the lowest risk group.
Nonetheless we completely and absolutely understand that there will be some who will want to take a "wait and see" approach. Do not feel pressured in any way to return before you are ready.
Lastly, we will have fewer swimmers to begin with and will have to organize in different groupings than we have previously had. So please help out! We need to know who is planning on swimming on day 1, and who will not be so we can rearrange groups into the most meaningful and productive groups.
Let us know: Please just cut and past this and send in an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Current or most recent CAST level (e.g. Novice, 3,5 etc)______________
_______Yes we plan to return as soon as we are able
_______We would like to wait at least _______ weeks after the team re-starts, before we re-join.