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High school swim teams argue for eased pool restrictions

FILE: The indoor pool at the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center. Pools at Salt Lake County's county-run facilities are off-limits to high school swim teams under current restrictions for COVID-19. Photo: Jason Olson, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of high school swim teams are hoping the Salt Lake County mayor’s office will ease pool restrictions at county-owned facilities so they can practice again. 

Dr. Curtis Andrews, a physician at Copper View Medical Center, pointed out other teams can practice in on-campus pools or at privately-owned facilities. To him, having the recreation centers open but unavailable to high school swim teams represents a double standard. 

“If they’re worried about increased caseloads, then the community should shut down the rec centers, not take a group and tell them they can’t use the rec center,” Andrews said.  

Currently, Salt Lake County does not allow any extracurricular activities at its county-run facilities, which include pool use at recreation centers. Andrews believes the order does not make sense. 

“You know, they want to be with their colleagues. They want to be with their peers, they want to practice their sports just like all the other students are doing,” he said. “So, it’s frustrating, for sure.” 

Andrews argues no national studies or reports indicate swimming increases the transmission of COVID-19. 

In a statement, Mayor Jenny Wilson’s office said the county will consider easing pool restrictions for high school swim teams once case counts start to go back down. As of Wednesday, Salt Lake County continued to have one of the highest rates of COVID-19 in the state. 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Wear a mask to protect yourself and others per CDC recommendations.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet).
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities).
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States