Last updated May 5, 2021
Dear Spring Term Families,
We are SO excited to welcome everyone to our brand-new H2O Academy facility after 1 very long year away from the pool! Our grand opening is on Tuesday, April 6th! Spring Term runs for 12 weeks and ends on June 27th. All classes will be at our facility located at 200-400 Fort Whyte Way.
We have suffered greatly as a small business and have worked extremely hard to survive this pandemic. There are a lot of rules and regulations in place… please visit us with kind hearts and understand that we are trying to provide a safe environment for our families. Please be patient with us as we navigate this new normal. We thank you for your continued support, especially through these challenging times. We apologize for the lengthy email, however we’ve received a lot of questions related to COVID-19 and our new facility, so please review this before your first visit to the pool!
Swim School Industry Background – DID YOU KNOW?!
When we embarked on this journey of building our own facility, we learned that most people in the world, especially in the USA and Australia learn to swim in swim school facilities like ours (fun fact – these 2 countries also have the most swimming Olympic medals!). There are a few swim school facilities in BC and quite a few in Ontario but it’s a relatively new concept to Canada. Our pool was built solely for the purpose of teaching people to swim. It’s a shallow, warm pool kept at the tropical temperature of 88-90°Farhenheit, so you’ll never be cold! Our pool filtration system features an enhanced UV disinfection process, the latest in commercial pool technology.
COVID-19 PROTOCOLS & CONTROL MEASURES
We have always prioritized the safety of our families and staff, and in these uncertain times, this is no different. As you know, our COVID-19 protocols and control measures can and will likely change in accordance with the Government’s Public Health Orders. We will share any changes with you through email and on our COVID-19 page. We reserve the right to refuse service to people who are not respecting the rules.
1. Physical Distancing
Facility – maintain physical distancing except for brief exchanges as per Government recommendations. Please avoid lingering in communal areas (e.g., vestibule, showers, etc.).
Pool – our Health Inspector has informed us that during a 30-minute lesson, you can have up to a maximum of 15 minutes of closer contact. Our teachers have been trained to keep their distance and there will also be some instances where closer contact will happen. We have most classes scheduled on staggered starts to help with distancing, and the pool will be roped off into class sections.
Class Mustering Points – signage on deck will identify where classes will meet. All baby/toddler classes will meet in front of the Viewers Lounge windows, and all other classes will be in one of the corners of the pool (look for your class sign). Our friendly lifeguards and teachers will be on hand to assist you if needed.
Masks are mandatory in our facility. Students cannot wear a mask in the pool as it is a safety issue. All our staff will be wearing plastic water-appropriate masks. Adults in parented classes will be provided with a plastic water-appropriate mask for an optional donation to the Children’s Hospital Foundation. Donate online at our fundraising page: http://chfm.convio.net/goto/h2oacademy.
Food and drink are not allowed in the building due to mask requirements. Please eat/drink outside.
Upon entry, please use the hand sanitizer located in the lobby. We have hand sanitizers mounted to the walls throughout our facility. There are 3 sinks in the washroom area for hand washing.
4. Building Cleaning and Sanitation
Enhanced cleaning and sanitation will occur by H2O staff and we’ve also hired a professional cleaning service to come twice a day.
5. Water Sanitation & Disinfection
Pool environments are a relatively safe environment because of how the water is treated – chlorine inactivates viruses. Our pool is disinfected using chlorine with an enhanced UV disinfection system– the latest in commercial pool technology. You’ll notice that you won’t smell chlorine in our pool because it’s properly balanced. The “chlorine” smell is not due to chlorine, but chloramines that build up in the pool water when it is improperly treated. We also get the question about salt water vs. chlorine pools a lot… did you know that saltwater pools generate chlorine? This means that saltwater pools are not chlorine free: 2NaCl (salt) + 2H2O →2NaOH + H2 + Cl2 (chlorine).
6. Facility Capacity
We are heavily restricted to 25% capacity. If capacity restrictions change, we will be able to add more classes. The front door will be locked, and you will be able to enter the facility 5-10 minutes before class. Please try to come with bathing suits on under clothes to lessen the time spent in the facility. Only one adult per student is allowed in the facility.
The maximum capacity of the Viewers Lounge is 8 people. Once the lounge is full, viewers will need to exit the building (go for a walk, wait outside, wait in car, etc.) until spots open. If these rules are not respected, we will be forced to close the viewers lounge (we sincerely hope we don’t have to do this).
7. If you’re sick, stay home
Stay home if anyone in your household has been in contact with or shows symptoms, is sick, or if public health has contacted you. Missed classes are non-refundable. We completely understand that having to pay for one or two missed classes can be irritating, but our costs remain the same whether everyone is present or not. Therefore, H2O Academy is under no obligation to refund or transfer your money if you can’t attend part, or all, of the classes.
8. 1 Year without lessons…
We’ve instructed our teachers to ease into things and err on the side of caution as most students have been out of the pool for 1 year and many will have regressed. During the first class, teachers will be obtaining baseline data for all students which may appear not as challenging as you may expect. Please be patient and trust the process.
9. What if there’s another shutdown?
We will contact all families if this happens and inform every one of the plans. Fees will be prorated, and credit/refund can be issued.
1. What to Bring
Please review our handbook for what to bring (you will need a towel, bathing suit, lock for locker, indoor shoes/sandals, goggles if you want them, your own SwimFin if you have one and want to use it, etc.). Please note that babies and toddlers must wear swim diapers under their bathing suit. You can purchase these in the diaper section and there are also reusable diapers available at various places.
2. Facility Tour
You won’t need a facility tour like we used to provide at the Winter Club as there is a lot of signage that will point you in the right direction. Stay tuned on social media @h2oacademy – we will be releasing a quick video tour!
A few facility items we want to highlight:
No outdoor shoes are allowed in the facility, there is storage in the front vestibule.
A diaper genie is in the washroom areas for diaper disposal.
No nudity in facility (except for private change rooms).
Shower is Rinse & Go style and is located on deck – no shampoo/conditioner, no nudity. Please keep your plastic mask on in the shower (cloth masks cannot get wet).
Only 1 adult per student is allowed in the building due to Government capacity restrictions. If 1 adult can manage more than 1 child, please do so.
The maximum capacity of our Viewing Lounge is 8 people (please read #6 in COVID section for details).
Ample parking in front lot.
We provide all class equipment except for goggles so there is no need to bring your own equipment unless you’d like to use goggles. All H2O families receive a 20% discount at Swimming Matters – let them know you’re with H2O to receive your discount. As mentioned above, chlorine inactivates viruses.
4. Summer Registration
We will be offering a summer term at our new facility from July 5 - August 27, 2021 (details and schedule will be released in May). We will be offering H2O @ Home again! Visit our H2O @ Home page and fill out the registration form. Once we hire a Summer Coordinator, they will reach out to you to book your lessons!
If you have any questions, please reach out to us. Please keep in mind, the response time might be a little longer as our email and call volume is very high. Our families have always been the heart of our business, and we’re grateful for your ongoing support. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and please do not ask us to break the rules, we can’t afford to be fined or shut down by the Government. We are extremely excited to welcome back our families and meet all the new ones… see you next week!
“It takes a village,” and we are confident that the H2O Academy Community can work together to create a safe environment for our families.
Frequently asked questions
Is it true I can only swim with members within my househould or private lessons?
The Government of Manitoba has advised us that as long we are under the allowed capacity and can maintain physical distancing of 2 m, then we are allowed to hold group lessons. If you feel more comfortable with privates lessons or cohort classes, that is also an option for you!
Do we have to wear masks in the pool?
No. Masks will be compulsory inside our new facility, but are not be worn in the water. Our teachers will be wearing water appropriate PPE while teaching.
I have 2 kids in classes, can my 4 year old wait on the pool deck by themselves for their class while I'm in the water with my baby?
No, for safety reasons all children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult in our new facility. It is not the lifeguard's or swim teacher's responsibility to supervise children who are not actively participating in a class. Due to COVID-19 restrictions we will have limited capacity, however we will be allowing one adult caregiver per child.
Can I get a credit or refund due to reasons related to COVID-19?
At anytime, families can request a credit that will never expire! If your situation requires you to request a refund, please email us and we can do so. We really appreciate all of the families that have supported us during this difficult time.
Do you sell gift certificates?
Yes! We hope you will consider supporting local business and give the gift of swimming this holiday season with an H2O gift certificate! You can purchase them online for yourself or as a gift for someone through your account here!