Will pools face a lifeguard shortage? Certification training underway as Virginia reopens for Phase 3

Local News

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced that Phase 3 will begin July 1 which means that both indoor and outdoor pools can open at 75 percent capacity.

As pools begin the process of reopening, the need for lifeguards is there. But training certification for lifeguards has been slightly behind because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Phase 2 in Virginia allowed pools to open for limited exercise and instruction. SwimRVA is one of those places, holding classes and instruction while practicing sanitation and social distancing.

They’ve also offered classes for lifeguard training. And with Phase 3 around the corner, certification is needed.

“I think in Phase 2, right now, we are meeting the demand,” said Ted Quinn, SwimRVA Safety School Director on the lifeguards currently available. “When Phase 3 hits and there’s more openings then there might be a shortage.”

“We certify at probably 98 percent of pools in the Richmond area,” said Assistant Director of Programs Ryan Allen. “There’s been a lifeguard shortage for probably the last six to seven years, and it results in limited swimming ability and some closed pools that would otherwise be open.”

Certification happens at locations all across the commonwealth and Quinn knows that proper instruction is key to helping save lives.

“I think there is this myth that all lifeguard training has stopped, and that’s not the case. But it is different. It is slower,” added Quinn. “It’s more involved. But I think at the end of the day the product is quality.”

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