Safety Information For Columbus Academy Practices

Columbus Academy Swimming Practices - Safety Guidelines, Expectations & Procedures


 The next stage of preparation for November 1 is to let you know of the guidelines, policies and procedures that we will be operating under to start the season so that everyone understands what these are and are willing to follow these to a “T” as if folks don’t agree with these or do not feel that they can abide by these they will need to know that so that they don’t waste valuable time and effort registering for the program. Please read through everything carefully if you would so that you do understand how we will be running things before you register your athletes. Please also note that these guidelines may be adjusted more tightly or more loosely as conditions unfold so please know that they could possibly do so. As you all are reading through these I will move to the next stage of what needs to be done which is the construction of the registration portal and the composition of written registration procedures for you to follow so that you know how to get registered and reserve your training spots for your athletes.  

CLICK HERE to see our COVID Guidelines, Policies and Procedures for general review of our approach to this. These guidelines were sent to the Franklin County Public Health Department and were given unanimous approval by a 4-member panel of the FCPHD. Specific procedures for our practices at Columbus Academy are as follows:


Assumption Of Risk Policy

1 – You will be required to agree to that upon registration but that is CLICK HERE to see in the meantime.  


Parking & Entrance Into The Facility

1 – Park in the east lots (baseball field side of the facility), only. Social distance your vehicles apart from other vehicles there, as well. This is to prevent everyone from coming close to one another out in the parking lots getting into or out of their vehicles. Even if you go to Academy you will be required, without exception, to park on this side and enter into the facility according to these guidelines.

2 – Athletes will start COVID check-in 15 minutes prior to their scheduled practice time in the water to begin check-in procedures. That COVID check-in time is the time listed for your group to start each day. If you arrive prior to that time period please remain with your vehicle until about 2-3 minutes before check-in starts and then make your way down the cement walkway to the pool that is on the right of the courtyard as you’re looking at it from the parking lot. Anyone getting out of their vehicles must be properly masked (nose and mouth covered) at the time that the exit their vehicle.

  Please maintain a 12-15ft distance, minimum separation from any other non-household individual after exiting your vehicle. As you walk under the covered walkway to the Barton Room foyer doors know that you will enter the foyer doors nearest the pool stairwell for check in which are the glassed double doors on the under that covered walkway. Wait there, separated by 12-15ft to start your COVID check-in procedures. Parents of non-driving athletes may walk their athletes up to the foyer doors but, during the week, will not be allowed to enter into the facility as we will have a no-spectator policy during the week. The athletes will enter the doors and once they are cleared for entrance the attending parent will walk southward on the cement pathway and loop around the other side of the courtyard to walk back to their cars so that we don’t have cross-ver

On the weekends, we will maintain our no spectator policy for all training groups except our very youngest training group (our “Novice” practice group). This is simply being done to insure the safety, individual direction and compliance of these youngest athletes. Their parent/guardian will be seated in the same station as the athlete in the bleachers and will not be allowed to leave that spot except in the case of emergency. If they choose to leave the facility for whatever reason they will not be allowed entrance back into the facility for the duration of practice unless our check-in individual/coach is stationed and available to walk them to and from their station. If this works well and everyone remains in compliance our hopes are to then open Level 1 practices to a single spectator per swimmer from there.     


3 – A coach/COVID volunteer will be stationed in such a position anywhere from out in the parking lot on up to the Barton Room foyer entrance to help monitor adherence to these guidelines. Another coach or COVID check-in (parent) volunteer will be in charge of checking in the athletes each practice. Another coach will be stationed in the balcony of the pool where athletes will be staged prior to the start of each practice. Athletes will have specific seating arrangements each and every night that they are at practice that will correlate precisely to the spacing (lane and lane location) arrangements that they will during practices. This keeps the same athletes side by side at all times within the facility to reduce athlete cross-over and to help with precise tracking in the event that it is needed.

Once you are registered, if you are interested in helping out by being a COVID check-in volunteer on the night your athlete is training please let me know as we may well need the help. 

Check-In Procedures

1 – Upon entrance, each athlete will be asked our state of health entrance question as noted in our guidelines. Please have your athletes review this question so that they can respond quickly to help with the flow of check-in. Their temperature will also be taken with a non-touch thermometer per our guidelines. They will also be visibly scanned for signed of sickness. If they pass all 3 aspects they will be sent up to the pool balcony to their assigned station/seating arrangement where they will remain until they are lined up to go down onto deck for practice. Athletes that fail any one of these 3 aspects of check-in clearance will be sent home. Their parents will be immediately texted to let them know so that the parents can take that athlete home or can expect that athlete home soon (if the athlete is driving themselves). Anyone being turned away from practice will be placed at least 10yds away from any other individual in the case that they must wait for a ride or to insure that their ride is still in the parking lot waiting on them. If you do not escort your athlete through the courtyard then please make sure to stay in your vehicle there in the lot until such time as you’ve confirmed through text that your athlete is cleared to practice.    


On-Land & In-Water Stationing

1 – We will have very specific assignments for each and every practice group up in the pool balcony that relate directly to the athlete’s in-water stationing assignment. For in-water practices, there are 6 lanes in the pool and athletes will be assigned into specific lanes and specific sub-groups within each lane. Example: Lane 1, swimmer A, Lane 1, swimmer B and so on. Lane 2 will be the same. That way in every single practice session each swimmer will be surrounded, while at rest, by the same athletes each and every time. Seating arrangements in the balcony will be exactly the same so that random cross-over of athletes is nullified and we have a day by day accounting of who is surrounded by who. All seating stations in the balcony will be at least 12-15ft apart. In the pool, athletes will be stationed at rest at least 5yds apart from anyone else in their lane at all times and at least 8ft apart (the width of a lane) apart from anyone to either side of them.

 2 – During the course of practice swimmers will remain in their subgroups to minimize at rest cross over. This way Lane 1, swimmer A is always next to lane 2, swimmer A and so on. Swimmers will begin and end all swims so that all subgroups remain stationed the same at rest.

 3 – Attendances are taken each and every day not only for administrative reasons here within the team but now, also, for tracking purposes in the event of need of that for COVID tracing.


In-Water Training

1 – Swimming will occur as normal with only a few exceptions. We have disallowed the use of kickboards during practice. While actively swimming, swimmers exhale underwater and only breath in while above water. However, the use of kickboards allows for not only exhaling above the water while passing but also tends to promote “socializing” while doing so which tends to draw athletes nearer to one another. As such, we are not using kickboards during practices to prevent these items. Additionally, there is no other common equipment that is to be used by athletes. Snorkels are the final item that we will not use during the pandemic as a snorkel allows for exhaling above the water while in use, as well. Only personal equipment (pull-buoys, paddles, bands and such) may be used during practice and must be taken home by the athlete each day.

2 – Based on our 4 month experience of training in outdoor pools this summer during the pandemic we’ve feel confident that all other training can safely remain the same during practices otherwise.      


Bathroom/Locker Room Use

1 – Athletes are to come to the pool with their suits on under their clothes as we will not be using the locker rooms for changing. They will need to dry off as completely as possible at the end of practice as they will be putting their clothes on right over their suits to exit as well. Proper dress and preparation for this procedure is essential. We suggest either 2 layers of everything underneath a zipped up parka or longer coat. Example: shorts over the suit with pants or sweats over those and for the girls t-shirts over their suits with another thicker shirt or sweatshirt over that with their coat on over that. HATS are a must during cooler/cold weather as is standard team policy. In cooler/cold weather socks and shoes should be worn (no flip flops and such).

Bathrooms will be used only in case of emergency and no clothing, bags and such may be taken in with the athletes. They are to be using those for bathroom purposes, only.


Exit From The Facility

1 – Athletes will re-mask upon getting out of the pool and will then be excused from practices in an orderly fashion so that proper distancing can occur as they travel back to their balcony stations. There they will immediately dress in preparation for departure. Departure will occur as follows based upon conditions:

A – If there is no other group entering into the pool area after the athlete’s practice has concluded they will exit from the balcony back down into the Barton Room foyer to prevent cross-over of athletes still coming upstairs from the pool deck. A coach will be stationed in the foyer to insure control, distancing and safe release. Athletes who drove will be allowed immediate exit (with proper distancing between cars/carpools/households) once in the foyer. Athletes dependent upon a ride will have to show their coach a text from their ride that they are, indeed, in the parking lot waiting on them or much have their driver approach the facility entrance doors there in the foyer in order to gain release from practice. Athletes having to wait on rides will be stationed 5yds apart in the foyer within site of the controlling coach in order to wait on their ride Anyone leaving the facility via this route will exit the Barton Room foyer doors and take an immediate right to follow that southerly walk route back to the parking lot.

B – If there IS another waive/practice group entering into the facility after an athlete’s practice they will follow the same procedure to go up to the balcony to get dressed. However, upon completion of that task athletes will be released in an orderly fashion back down to the pool deck to then exit out of the door there at the shallow end of the pool leading to the outside. They will then make their way to the parking lot once they have exited out that door. Again, our plan is to have a coach/COVID volunteer monitoring foot traffic to insure masking, distancing and such. Such cross-overs will only occur on the weekends and not during the week just FYI.  


Hopefully that’s a good start on what to expect and what's expected in order to keep things as safe as possible for everyone involved. Due to how tenuous things are with this pandemic and the matter in which everyone is learning to adapt we want to make sure we are not even coming close to the edge of the cliff… we want to assure the safest and most stringent environment that we can. Anyone… coach, parent, spectator, or athlete who cannot abide by these policies will be subject to loss of their rights to come to the pool. We cannot have one or two instances jeopardizing this opportunity to swim for everyone else so know that we’ll be very tight in terms of sticking to and enforcing these policies. Thanks and I’ll be working on registration and registration procedures/instructions from here.   

Steve Nye & The Entire GCSTO Staff