LIVINGSTON, NJ — Shortly after releasing guidelines for the opening of Livingston’s summer day camp, which will be open to kids in grades K-8 in July, the Township of Livingston announced that the Mervyn V.T. Haines Pool (adjacent to Livingston High School) will also be open this summer, beginning on Friday, June 26.
The pool will be open with restrictions in place according to Gov. Phil Murphy’s directives. Further details on the guidelines for both the pool and the summer camp can be found below.
Following Monday’s announcement, Jennifer Walker, Director of Livingston’s Senior, Youth and Leisure Services (SYLS), thanked the many township employees who have worked tirelessly over the last few weeks to ensure the safe opening of both the camp and the pool.
“What made it so difficult was that we couldn’t prepare,” she said. “We couldn’t even start to prepare a month ago because we had no idea what the governor’s guidelines were going to entail, and then once they came out, we had to scramble to make sure that we’re putting it all together and that we’re covering everything.”
Walker specifically recognized Athletic & Aquatics Program Supervisor Ron Barbella and members of the Department of Public Works, who have “worked nonstop” to put the pool guidelines together and ensure that the facilities are safe to reopen, as well as members of her SYLS office staff, who have been fielding countless calls from community members over the last three months.
“They have been phenomenal and there’s no way we would be where we’re at without them,” she said.
She also acknowledged Camp, Youth and Teen Programs Supervisor Corinne Olson, who Walker believes “has been 24/7 for the last month,” and members of the Livingston Board of Education, who “really stepped up” to help SYLS create the safest possible environment for the summer camp.
“It’s a little different with camp because it’s specific children and we’re responsible for them, so we want to make sure that we’re doing the right thing,” said Walker. “At the same time, we had put a survey out to the community, and I think 79 percent of those who responded said they wanted to send their kids to camp…
“The board of ed has been so unbelievably supportive. Everything we have asked for or needed, they have given to us and helped us through it all. We went from two locations to five locations. So now we’ll be at Mt. Pleasant Middle, Mt. Pleasant Elementary, Harrison, Hillside and Monmouth Court so we can spread kids out, try to keep them in their little communities and limit interaction between the groups as much as possible.”
As a mother of two, Walker also recognized the need for such programs for both the kids and the hundreds of employees hired as lifeguards and counselors in Livingston each summer.
“You want to keep your kids safe, but at the same time, one of the best parts of growing up—and one of the most important aspects of growing up, I believe—is to learn how to become socially responsible with your peers,” she said. “Kids need to learn more than just math and science; they also need to learn how to share, and they need to have interaction with their peers to be able to do that. We haven’t had that for the last three months…
“We also hire close to 300 part-time lifeguards and camp counselors each summer, and most of those kids are Livingston teens. The life lessons they get from having to work and be responsible—where they’re literally filling out a time card and learning how to call in sick and communicate with a supervisor— it’s irreplaceable. They need this, too, so I’m glad that we’ll be able to offer that in the safest possible environment.”
Camp guidelines, including information on pricing and how campers will be split up, can be found HERE.
"Early Bird" prices for Haines pool will be in effect throughout the entire summer. Northland pool will remain closed to the public for the time being, but will be opened later in the summer in the event that there is a surge in membership. More information on rates can be found HERE.
“COVID-19 has made some significant changes in our lives,” said Barbella. “We’re pleased to be able to open up the town pool this summer as we continue taking the proper steps to keep those using our pool facilities safe.”
The Haines facility will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with the main pool open to all members and the lap open for adults and seniors only. The snack bar will be selling only prepackaged food and drinks.
More COVID-19 Guidelines for Haines Pool
Livingston’s pool policies and procedures will follow updated COVID-19 guidelines, including limiting pool attendance to 50 percent of capacity. All pool staff members will receive a daily health screening that will include documented temperature checks before every shift.
At both pool locations, a separate entrance and exit will be specified, and six-foot spacing will be designated at both the entrance and exit. The entrance to Haines pool will remain on the left of the facility in its original location. The only exit, however, will be located at the gates to the left of the snack bar.
All pool patrons must present a Pool ID in order to enter the facility. Member guests will be allowed with the appropriate guest passes; however, the member bringing the guests must provide a member form for each guest. The form will be available both online and at the pool entrance.
Members are encouraged to bring their own chairs, as there will be no public seating.
Credit cards will be accepted at the pool facilities in order to limit physical interactions, although cash is still being accepted.
In addition, signage will be posted prominently reminding visitors to utilize proper hand washing and hygiene, practice social distancing, be alert for the signs of COVID-19 and stay home if exhibiting symptoms.
Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be used at the facilities, along with frequently sanitizing areas open to the public. Hand sanitizer stations will also be provided throughout the facilities.
Those entering the pool will be required to use hand sanitizer upon entry and are encouraged to use hand sanitizer throughout their time in the facility.
Showers and Restrooms
Foot coverings will be required within the restrooms, shower area and locker rooms. Occupancy in restrooms, shower areas and locker rooms will be limited to the number of stalls at each location. In addition, social distancing must be maintained and masks must be work inside the facilities.
Cloth face coverings should not be put on children under age two due to the danger of suffocation, and face coverings will not be allowed in the water due to the increased risk of drowning.
However, masks should be worn by those over age 2 when they are not in the water, including whenever they are walking through public areas or are in the restrooms, shower areas or locker rooms, or when they are walking through public areas or not in the water.
Although lifeguards will not wear a face covering while actively on lifeguard duty, they are urged to wear a mask or cloth face covering when they are not on duty and cannot maintain six-foot social distancing.
Residents are encouraged to visit the Livingston Township Pools and Aquatics webpage to learn more about Livingston’s pools and the township’s COVID-19 Outdoor Pool Standards and Pool Operations Prevention Plan.
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