In the wake of COVID-19 most all of the United States Swim School Association members, privately-owned swim schools, have reported closing. The impact of these closings thus far resulted in lost revenue of nearly $9 million and more than 6,000 people being laid off or put on furlough. While the association is hopeful that the recent government CARES Act will help these small business stay in business, the negative impact on the learn to swim industry and families goes deeper.
Over 175,000 families with school-aged children have been impacted by these closures and swim school professionals now fear a potential increase in drownings.
“Typically, spring is the time when families participate in swim lessons in preparation for the summer months,” said Lisa Zarda, Executive Director of the United States Swim School Association (USSSA). “We are extremely concerned that without swim lessons, there may be an increase in drowning incidences.”
Learning to swim is one of the key layers of protection in water safety as outlined by the American Academy of Pediatrics. We also see the potential challenges with everyone staying at home. Nine out of 10 drowning deaths happen when a caregiver is supervising but not paying attention.*
“There is a particular concern as many parents are trying to juggle working from home and supervising their children at the same time,” said John Kirk, President of the USSSA and Owner of Little Otter Swim School, Charlotte, NC. “We are working with swim school members to increase water safety education through social media and other channels.”
The Association says if you live anywhere near a body of water, undistracted supervision is key to safety. They also advise if you have a pool, you need to have a four sided fence with a self-closing, self-locking latch, as well as an alarm on the exit doors to the yard and the pool.
To learn more about water safety please visit https://www.usswimschools.org/parent-resources/ and https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/at-play/Pages/Summer-Safety-Tips-Sun-and-Water-Safety.aspx
PLEASE NOTE: United States Swim School Association survey of privately-owned swim schools across the country showed that nearly all swim schools are closed across the country. The few that remain open are very small, one with just the owner teaching private lessons. While the CDC states that there is no evidence showing anyone has gotten the COVID-19 virus in recreational water, swim schools across the country closed under social distancing rules in their cities and states.