2021 COVID Safety Policies
This page contains new policies and procedures for the 2021 Swim Season. Registration link is at bottom of page
A large amount of thought, effort and discussion has gone into planning a safe experience for Barracuda families this year. The plans have changed continuously throughout the months leading up to the season, and may continue to do so. FLEXIBILITY will be really important this season for everyone.
Please understand that the policies here were adopted using lots of input from various stakeholders including the BCW HOA (who lets us rent the pool and has legitimate liability concerns) and the Austin Hills Swim League, under which we get insurance and coordinate across teams. Some of these policies are non-negotiable requirements of the entities above. We've also taken input from other area sports leagues and USASwimming. Not everyone will be happy with these compromises, but we will need to follow these in order to have a season this year. Anyone who is not comfortable with these compromises is welcome to rejoin us in 2022 when we can hopefully have a more traditional program.
Our plans may change based on the Austin/Travis County COVID level.
At the time of registration opening, the area is in Stage 3. Should the stage change, the following restrictions would apply:
If our area returns to Stage 5, then swim meets would be canceled.
If our area returns to Stage 4, then we would consider Intrasquad or Virtual meets in place of traditional "dual" meets.
If our area continues in Stage 3 or lower restrictions, we will allow dual meets using the policies outlined below in addition to any facility-specific policies specified by the home team at an away meet.
The pool will be maintained as it has been in previous years, so no changes to the pool levels itself. (No additional chlorination, etc.)
The Swim Team has contracted to have the bath house professionally cleaned every weekday plus after swim meets.
Other surfaces, such as deck chairs or tables, will not be cleaned or sanitized.
Kickboards will be shared by swimmers on a given night; no special sanitization process will be followed, as the chlorinated water will be deemed sufficient. Families concerned with this may send their own kick board to practice for their swimmer(s) to use.
Health Checks and Reporting
Parents will be expected to ensure their children are healthy before dropping them off at swim practice or a meet. The same protocols in place for school apply - fevers or unexplained symptoms should cause the family to skip swim that day. We will not be using any contact form or app to track self-health reporting nor will we be checking temperatures upon entrance.
Reporting and Contact Tracing:
If a swimmer tests positive for COVID, the family should report the details to [email protected] and the team will initiate contact tracing. In general, we expect any quarantine to be limited to the swimmers in the same lane of the pool during practice over the appropriate timeframe.
If a family member of a swimmer tests positive for COVID who has been present/volunteering at an event such as a swim meet, please follow the same reporting procedure and the team will decide any necessary next steps. Since most volunteers inside the fence will be masked at all times as described below, we do not expect significant quarantines to be necessary in these cases.
If a swimmer has been instructed to quarantine by the school, that swimmer is considered quarantined for the purposes of swim team as well.
Swimmers will not be expected to wear masks while swimming, however, swimmers will be expected to arrive wearing a mask and to leave wearing a mask. Swimmers would be expected to bring a bag of some sort to store their mask to prevent it from blowing away during practice.
Swimmers will be expected to enter only at the appointed time for their session through the main entrance. Swimmers will be expected to leave through the bathroom gate promptly at the end of their session. Each gate should be treated as a one-way entrance or exit.
Parents and Siblings:
Parents and Siblings will not be allowed inside the fence during practices, but are welcome to bring a chair and watch from outside the fence. The Splash pool will not be available for siblings this season, primarily as it suffered significant damage from the freeze event and the repairs are not expected to be completed imminently.
The coaches will be responsible for assigning swimmers to a lane; swimmers will be expected to use that lane during practice each day, or get approval from a coach to change lanes. This is primarily intended to support and simplify contract tracing, should it be necessary.
Spacing / Swimmers per Lane:
USASwimming (link above) has recommended procedures for spacing swimmers within a lane. Depending on the age and height (can they touch the bottom...) of swimmers in each age group, the coaches will instruct swimmers on how to space in each lane. Given that the number of swimmers each day is highly variable, the exact number per lane cannot be guaranteed. If the coaches cannot keep all swimmers in the pool without appropriate spacing, the coaches will instruct the swimmers to use strategies outlined by USASwimming, including rotating swimmers out of the pool temporarily if needed. Example: If 6 swimmers are assigned to the same lane, the coaches will avoid having all six at the same end of the pool at the same time, ideally with 3 on each end, with some spread out down the lane line on each end. Swimmers will pass across each other swimming laps, briefly, many times during a practice.
Coaches serve dual roles as swim instructors and life guards. The team insurance requires that the team have a certified guard on deck at all times. The coaches will be in the water much less than previous seasons, but may elect to get in the water to demonstrate a skill or if they have a safety concern. They will absolutely get in the water if needed to perform a rescue. Otherwise, coaches will generally remain 6 feet from swimmers while standing on deck and instructing swimmers in the pool.
Swim Meet Procedures
The policies here apply to our team at all times; if the meet is located at another pool, then additional facility-specific policies will be communicated before that meet.
We are tentatively planning multiple intrasquad meets to refine these new procedures, and they are subject to change, especially after the first meet. That said...
Depending on the number of swimmers participating, team leadership will consider splitting the meet into multiple sessions, like either by age or by gender, effectively having two half-meets instead of one long meet. Details will be communicated in advance of each meet based on the number of swimmers who register to compete each week. Participation in meets is entirely optional. Sign-up deadlines for each meet will be enforced more strongly due to the increased logistical challenges this season.
Marking up (Sharpies...)
Swimmers would optionally be marked up by parents before arriving at a meet. At most, age group parents would mark up a swimmer's name but not event numbers, to limit any close contact between a parent volunteer and a number of swimmers.
A reduced number of volunteers will be utilized. Volunteer roles will not be selected during season registration as they are still being determined. Families may be expected to volunteer in order for a swimmer to participate in a meet, depending on numbers. Volunteers will generally be the only adults allowed inside the fence during a meet, and volunteers will be required to wear a mask at all times other than brief hydration breaks. Volunteers needing a longer break (phone call, eat, etc.) will be asked to go outside the fence until they are able to wear their mask.
The Ready Bench, where swimmers line up before swimming, will be very different. Swimmers will not be clustered together before swims as they have been in past years. Swimmers will need to take more personal responsibility for being ready to swim at the appropriate time, similar to what is done in year-round swimming. Swimmers will not be expected to wear a mask as they prepare for a swim.
Base / Waiting Area + Masks
Swimmers will be expected to wear a mask while they are inside the fence unless they meet one of the following conditions:
1) Immediately walking to ready bench/pool for an event
2) Taking a brief hydration break
3) Eating a snack for a reasonably brief period of time
4) Or, are located 6 feet from any other swimmer, if space permits.
Swimmers may go outside the fence during swims if they have informed their age group parent AND they will be under the supervision of a parent/guardian. (i.e. families can setup their own "base" area outside the fence.) Any swimmers that go outside the fence are responsible for knowing when to return for their next swim, as it is unfair to ask Age Group Parents to track them down outside the area. Any swimmer who misses a relay swim (and causes 3 other swimmers to miss an event) due to being outside the fence and not returning in time may be restricted from future relay participation
In order to spread everyone out better, our base area/layout will be different than previous years, likely using the normal concession area and the grassy corners inside the fence, and possibly even area outside the fence for some of our older swimmers.
Hydration and Concessions
Swimmers will be expected to bring their own water bottle, properly labeled. Volunteers will be asked to similarly bring their own water bottle when possible.
It has not yet been decided what level of concessions, if any, will be available at swim meets due to space and safety concerns. More information will be communicated before meets, and away meets may do things differently.
Anyone other than a swimmer or active-during-their-shift-only volunteer is considered a spectator. Spectators will not be allowed inside the fence during a swim meet. Spectators may watch from outside the fence but are asked to be considerate of others by moving away from the fence when their child is not swimming so that other spectators can watch their swimmers. Spectators who insist on entering the fence area will have their swimmers removed from the meet. Spectators will be asked to follow relevant public guidance regarding mask-wearing, relative to their risk level, vaccination status and available spacing. As a courtesy to other families on the team, the team requests spectators to wear a mask when near other families, such as might happen along the fence watching a swim.
We cannot commit at this time, but the team is looking into live-streaming the swim meet so higher-risk family members can watch from home. If that is available, it will be communicated before the meet.
Thanks for reading through our Covid Policies.