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Lifeguard Shortage to Affect Swimming Pool Hours

July 29, 2021 :: Latest News

We’ve been informed by Atlantic Pool Service, our swimming pool management company, that the national lifeguard shortage this summer is continuing to worsen and will most likely affect operations in Foxfield. We’re waiting to hear exactly what the effect will be, but we expect to see reduced operating hours on some days and on other days possibly complete closures.

Several factors are contributing to the shortage. International students who normally travel to the U.S. to work as lifeguards have been unable to obtain work visas from the State Department this year and many countries have restricted travel to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many colleges and universities will be starting their fall semesters earlier than normal, which will decrease the number of available lifeguards late in the summer. Additionally, Atlantic has found that unlike the international students who seek to maximize their work hours so they can maximize the earnings they take home at the end of the summer, many local lifeguards have different motivating factors and don’t desire (i.e., “refuse”) to work as many hours.

After college-aged students leave the area to return to class, most or all of our lifeguards will be high school students. Therefore, once Fairfax County schools reopen on August 23 the earliest the pool will be able to open on weekdays will be 4:00 p.m., not 2:00 p.m. as previously announced. We hope the other hours of operation will remain unaffected, but we’re waiting for additional guidance from Atlantic. As soon as we receive the new operating hours from Atlantic they’ll be posted on this web site. We do know now that as much as we hope Foxfield residents and guests will be able to enjoy the water, we can’t open the pool if we don’t have lifeguard protection.

4 Comments to “Lifeguard Shortage to Affect Swimming Pool Hours”
  1. Denise Gauthier says:

    Why not work with other communities to allow residents access to other pools and consolidate lifeguard labor. This seems like poor planning to me; donโ€™t these college age students go back to school each year at this time? Are you going to reduce association fees to reflect reduction in services? Please give this a little more thought next time – to just close doors is not strategic, especially after all the closed doors due to covid. Try harder.

    • Scott says:

      College students are returning to class earlier than usual this year. As the post explains, that is only one factor that’s contributing to the lifeguard shortage this year. If most HOA lifeguards in our area are high school students and they can’t arrive at the pools until 4 p.m., the labor problem isn’t solved by swimming at a different HOA’s pool.

      There is no mechanism in place for HOAs to share their pool facilities with other HOAs. Foxfield board members are Foxfield residents, just like you, and we don’t even know the board members of other HOAs. Even if another HOA was open to discussing the option of sharing facilities, numerous details would need to be resolved. Issues such as compensation, insurance coverage, access lists, signed waivers, etc. immediately come to mind. Since we’re currently talking about opening only two hours later during weekdays and for only the last two weeks of the season, the effort hardly seems worthwhile — especially when you factor in the additional time it would take for residents to travel to and from another HOA’s pool. And again, why wouldn’t other HOA pools have the same labor shortage problem we have when trying to staff mid-afternoon time slots? The shortage is nationwide, not merely Foxfield’s problem in Fairfax.

      No, association assessments cannot be reduced to reflect two weeks of slightly reduced swimming pool hours. While we regret the pool cannot be opened without lifeguards on duty, the value of the reduced hours to each homeowner in Foxfield based on what we pay the pool management company is less than the cost of a postage stamp.

      We’re sorry to have disappointed you. Although your board of directors has discussed swimming pool issues (and many other policy topics) in depth many times, we will certainly take your advice that we give issues more thought in the future and that we try harder. Thank you for writing.

  2. V Miller says:

    would’ve appreciated an email or text as we weren’t aware the pool wasn’t opening until 4pm and just trekked over ๐Ÿ™‚

    Next time the hours change, could you also post a sign on the pool doors.

    What a disappointment for folks who are home and enjoy the pool.

    • Scott says:

      The new pool hours have been posted here on the web site for a few weeks and lifeguards have been reminding the regular swimmers. We don’t have most people’s email address or phone number, so those aren’t reliable methods to communicate with the entire community.

      We will have a sign posted on the pool house door for people who arrive before 4 p.m. Thanks for the suggestion. The pool will still be open every day until the end of the season — it’s just opening two hours later on weekdays.

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