TRENTON, NJ -- While parents and students of New Jersey high schools rejoiced in finally getting guidance on graduations at Gov. Phil Murphy's press conference on Tuesday, questions regarding whether area pools will open this summer remain unanswered.
"I will just comment that outdoor pools are still on the list of, they're a little bit more complicated," Murphy said. "When I first started talking about outdoor pools, I had in mind... a legitimate suggestion from a couple of them (Jersey Shore community mayors and county executives) that if you loosen up pool restrictions, you also give yourself more space in which to spread your capacity, which makes sense."
The governor said that a municipal pool that far from the Shore has a very different dynamic.
"I would just say it's on the list but I've got no news to report on that," said Murphy, who did not discuss the topic at Wednesday's news conference.
Meanwhile, two Somerset Hills YMCA swimmers have launched an online petition calling for the governor to reopen pools in the state. Jerry Zheng and Andy Moss, both high school sophomores, posted the petition to change.org last week and have gotten nearly 14,000 signatures as of May 27.
"We do understand that we need to take safety precautions seriously as well as practice social distancing during our practices. Here is USA Swimming's Guidance to how this could safely work. Please trust the maturity of competitive athletes: we are focused and serious and responsible," the swimmers wrote on their petition. "If you grant us the privilege to return to swimming we will not disappoint you or the people of New Jersey. Perhaps swimming pools across the state used for training could be open for competitive swimmers to train until there is full public access." -- Andy Moss and Jerry Zheng's change.org petition
Zheng and Moss appeared on Fox News on Wednesday morning to make their case for opening pools for competitive swimmers in New Jersey.
“Jerry and I have been competitive swimmers since we were seven,” Moss told Fox News. “This is our entire lives, and our mental and physical health has taken a toll. This is the longest I've been out of the pool probably since I was seven."
The sophomores cited CDC guidelines in their online petition.
"As science clearly demonstrates, chlorine does in fact kill the coronavirus and helps prevent the spread. On the CDC website it clearly states, “There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.” https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/water.html