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Local Public Pools Unsure Of Plans For Another Possible Pandemic Summer

Local municipalities are debating whether to open public pools this summer as the coronavirus pandemic continues in Northeast Ohio.

The City of Beachwood is in a “holding pattern,” awaiting guidance from the state, said Community Services Director Derek Schroeder. Current recommendations haven’t been updated since last summer, he said, though more guidance is expected in March.

“We’re kind of having Plan A, Plan B and Plan C, because we’re pretty much left in the dark as of right now, as far as what rules and regulations are going to be,” Schroeder said. “We’re trying to figure that out without much guidance from the county health department and the state. But it’s understandable, it’s a ways away and there’s a lot of other stuff going on.”

Beachwood officials are hoping to open the pool at limited capacity with social distancing protocols in place, he said, depending on coronavirus spread closer to Memorial Day.

Additional safety measures could include touch-free faucets and paper towel dispensers in the locker rooms, Schroeder said, as well as Plexiglas around the concession stand.

Beachwood officials also hope to offer other options like outdoor movie screenings and summer camps, he said, depending on the state of the pandemic.

“We just don’t have all the answers for everyone,” he said.

The summer of 2020 presented a challenge as guidelines were still being established, said Shaker Heights Recreation Director Alexandria Nichols. This year, the coronavirus is still causing difficulty in nailing down final plans, she said, but Shaker can use guidance from last year to come up with tentative plans for reopening pools, summer camps and other programs.

“We’re not quite sure yet what the pandemic is going to do and what the impact is going to be on operations, so we’re looking at a couple different scenarios,” Nichols said.

Two variables that could impact plans to reopen are vaccine rollout and mutations of the virus, Nichols said.

“Right now, everything is just very tentative,” Nichols said. “We really hope to see an improvement in the next month or two so we can solidify details for the summer.”

Shaker Heights also is evaluating options for spring sports such as soccer and baseball, she said, using the state’s current guidelines.

Cleveland Heights hasn’t reached a decision on its municipal properties, either. In a Facebook post, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department said it is taking all the necessary steps to be ready to open once the pandemic is under control.

“We are as hopeful as our residents that Cumberland Pool will open this summer,” the post said, “however it is too early for us to make that determination.”

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