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Swimming Pool Update 4

June 28, 2020 :: Latest News

Governor Northam announced last week that he plans to move Virginia to Phase 3 on July 1. Northern Virginia would be included in the transition unless our local officials request otherwise, and as of last week they were largely onboard with the governor’s plan.

Most of the Phase 2 swimming pool requirements still apply under Phase 3. One change is that under Phase 3, Foxfield can allow up to 122 people into the facility at the same time. People are also no longer restricted to swimming within a pool lane. On the other hand, social distancing of ten feet must still be maintain at all times (except for people living together under the same roof), we’d still close the entire facility for sanitizing at least every two hours, and Foxfield pool furniture would still be unavailable for use.

We know that some local pools have already opened. We also know that some local pools have decided to remain closed for the entire summer. While we’re considering our options under Phase 3, we see that officials in some states are placing their reopening plans on hold due to recent surges in COVID-19 infections, especially surges among young people. We monitor the official announcements throughout each day, paying particular attention to Northern Virginia updates.

Your board is currently discussing a pool opening strategy for Phase 3 and will have a new announcement within the next few days.

2 Comments to “Swimming Pool Update 4”
  1. victoria davis says:

    hi, thank you for the pool updates. I’ve joined the mailing list and would appreciate receiving any updates via email vs. checking the website every day. From what I see on the news, NOVA isn’t experiencing a recent surge in infections so I hope you open the pool soon. We are older and swimming is an excellent form of exercise. Will we receive a rebate from our Homeowners dues based on the fact we have not been able to use the pool and you’ve saved pool costs this year? We’ve lived on Sudley Ford Ct. for 30 years! I’d appreciate a reply as I’ve sent several emails over the past few months and have not rec’d a reply. Thanks.

    • Scott says:

      Hi, thanks for writing. I could find only one other message from you, on June 6, and I answered it the next day. I’ll send a copy of this post to your email address, as you requested.

      We recently contracted with a vendor to give us the capability to send text message/email notifications, but those messages have a system limitation of 107 characters. (The vendor is currently troubleshooting a bug in their program that occasionally affects the sending of text messages.) I’ve asked them to see if we can repurpose the system to let us send out bulk emails with no character limitations.

      Regrettably, there is no plan to send a rebate on HOA assessments. Foxfield has saved only negligible amounts on pool costs this year. The only expenses we’re saving on now are things like water in the restrooms and electricity for the pool house ceiling lights. We’re in the midst of a multi-year contract with the pool company and payment terms have already been established. There is actually a significant amount of work that must be done to maintain the pool and water, regardless of whether the pool is open for swimming. For example, pool walls and floors needed to be scrubbed in the spring. Cracks in the pool walls and pool deck needed to be filled. We have the water pumps removed each fall to protect them from freezing, and the pumps need to be reinstalled each spring. We recently had an electrical problem with one of the pump motors that required emergency repairs. Our pool company checks and adjusts the water chemistry in both pools every few days to keep algae under control. The company also checks and maintains our pool water levels and keeps pump filters and skimmers clean.

      While it’s true that we haven’t needed any lifeguards yet this year, the lifeguards work for the pool company and their cost is built into the contract price we agreed to pay. This is a common provision in all pool management contracts. It may seem unfair for Foxfield to be paying for something we haven’t needed, but there is a silver lining. Travel restrictions placed on overseas students have increased the demand for local guards, pool opening delays have forced some lifeguards to find alternate jobs this summer, and as in all other industries, some lifeguards have become ill with COVID-19. With a decreased supply of healthy lifeguards, wages have been rising. Despite the higher wages lifeguards are currently receiving, Foxfield’s contract terms remain set at the price we negotiated last year.

      Also, there’s not a dollar-for-dollar relationship between HOA costs and assessment rates. We budget an annual amount for snow plowing, for example, but just as we don’t give refunds if we have an unusually warm winter we don’t send everybody a bill if we have multiple blizzards that require front-end loaders and tons of extra sand and salt.

      Rather than decrease, our pool costs this year will actually increase due to opening in the current environment. We’ll need to create and post new signage, design and implement a COVID screening process, pay to setup an online reservation system, purchase Internet service for the lifeguards so they can check the new reservation system, buy Internet equipment for the lifeguards to use, and pay for legal advice. We won’t be billing these new pool costs directly to homeowners, but we look at all our income and expenses in total when calculating upcoming assessments rates for each new year.

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