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Lifeguard shortage leads to rolling pool closures

Loveland Parks & Rec said it is currently operating at 50% of its regular aquatics staffing levels.

LOVELAND, Colo. — The shortage of lifeguards continues to impact communities along Colorado's Front Range.

The City of Loveland announced it will initiate rolling closures over the next weeks for two of its aquatics facilities, the Chilson Center and Winona Pool.

The city said its lifeguard staffing took a hit in 2020 due to COVID-related closures and so far in 2021, the city is currently operating at 50% of its regular aquatics staffing levels.

Loveland's Parks & Recreation Department said it relies on 40 additional seasonal lifeguard positions to fill 20 to 25 or more shifts per day to safely manage swimmers across its three locations each summer.

Recruitment efforts have been under way for several months, but there aren’t as many available lifeguards to fill those seasonal positions, according to the city.

“Our number one priority is patron and staff safety and as we work to recruit and train lifeguards to fill our need during this statewide shortage, we must do what is necessary to equally distribute our experienced lifeguards to where they are needed the most,” said LeAnn Williams, recreation manager for the City of Loveland. “We based these rolling closures on what made sense with the weather forecast and our lifeguards’ schedules. We continue to ask for the public’s understanding and patience.”

Rolling Swim Area Closures  

  • June 14:  Chilson leisure pool closed at 2 p.m.
  • June 15-17: Chilson Aquatics (lap pool, leisure pool, hot tubs and steam room) close from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • June 18: Chilson Aquatics closed from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • June 19: Chilson Aquatics closed from noon to 4 p.m.
  • June 21 – 22: Winona Pool will not open for open swim or family swim. Facility closes at noon.
  • June 24: Chilson Aquatics closed 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The city said the rolling closures start Monday, June 14 and could be extended as the department works to hire and train lifeguards.

Credit: Eliana Block
Across the country, some counties are experiencing lifeguard shortages both in hiring and training. In Prince George's County, aquatics chief Tara Stewart says 40 students are currently enrolled in their lifeguarding courses, down from 100 in a typical year.

Loveland said the Lake Loveland Swim Beach is now planned to open 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays beginning Saturday, June 26. Additional days will be added to the swim beach schedule as lifeguard availability allows.

Loveland Parks & Recreation is hosting a $130 lifeguard training class July 10-11. If the City hires a lifeguard out of that class and stays employed with the City of Loveland for 90 days, the cost for training will be refunded. Lifeguards also get free Chilson Center memberships and other hiring bonus options may apply.

Anyone interested in applying to be a lifeguard with Loveland this summer can apply at https://bit.ly/2TFGRsC. Interested residents who are currently not a certified lifeguard can contact karli.conrad-davis@cityofloveland.org  for training opportunities.

RELATED: Pools reopen for start of summer season

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