Our Aquatics Team have been busy behind the scenes preparing for when state government restrictions are lifted across Australia. In this edition of B-Informed, we speak with Sarah Podesta, Aquatics Manager at VIC/TAS about potential challenges around reopening and how the Aquatics team have kept themselves up to date on the ever-evolving COVID-19 restrictions.
1) During the government mandated lockdowns, how did the aquatic team stay in touch with members?
A series of member engagement videos were created for Facebook and Instagram. The team at WaterMarc lead the way with this initiative and Vanessa Laino, WaterMarc Aquatics Manager kindly supported other participating Centres to produce their final videos.
All members were also invited to register for access to the Home Fitness Network. When the HFN was released, the kids and youth section was a first for the industry to accompany Adult Health and Fitness content within the one platform.
Members were kept informed via newsletter with updates as new activities were added to the HFN and a sample of these activities were published on Centre’s Facebook pages for free community access.
2) Government restrictions are being lifted around the country. What are the plans from the team around reopening?
The National Aquatics Leadership Group are working hard behind the scenes to interpret and confirm current restrictions across each state for Australia and New Zealand.
This is challenging as all states have different restrictions which are amended at different times. In addition to this, restrictions have been provided by state governments with lap swimming in mind, and only minimal information specific to learn to swim.
The NALG have put together to guides to assist Centres to navigate through what we know and how to bring their programs back safely.
These are available for Managers and Aquatic Leaders on B-connected and are regularly updated as the restrictions change.
3) What has been happening behind the scenes with the aquatic team while pools have been closed?
Aquatics Leaders and Swim Teachers have been able to return onsite under the JobKeeper program to prepare for lessons to recommence.
During this time, they have been:
- Conducting Member check in calls
- Completing online training
- Developing videos for a new suite of online program resources
- Cleaning all areas of the pool hall, offices and program equipment
- Updating databases in preparation for Active World
- Produced and published local social media engagement updates
Here is a video that the team from Queensland put together to ensure that all swim teachers are prepared for a for a safe return to lessons.
4) What challenges do you foresee as pools reopen? How will the aquatics team work around them?
As COVID-19 is restrictions vary from state to state, they must be addressed with a state-based approach.
Restrictions are ever changing which is challenging as a one-word change in the restriction can have a large impact on what a Centre is permitted to do for example the word ‘people’ versus ‘patron’. In some states, the guidelines and restrictions are also contradicting in terms.
The Aquatics team will continue to prepare for a full program return, whilst keeping on the pulse with restriction developments.
Communication will be the key to ensure that parents and students feel safe to return to lessons a restrictions ease.