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COVID-19 Management Procedures – Commencement of School Swimming Program

With gradual easing of restrictions in Victoria, the following information is provided for parents, caregivers, and guardians in response to concerns about the impact of COVID-19 on swimming environments and return to school swimming programs.

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued mandatory guidelines for staggered returns to recreational activities, and cleaning processes in public settings. Together with recommendations from member bodies including Life Saving Victoria, Safe Work Australia, Royal Life Saving, the Victorian Aquatic Industry Alliance (VAIA) and Swim Australia, these are instrumental in the design of workplace policies and procedures concerning management of aquatic spaces and water environments.

The Swim Australia website displays detailed infographics and current information on virus behavior, together with general information on chemical disinfection. The VAIA has issued guidelines on commencement of sports instruction in indoor settings, which enable the pool at Ivanhoe Girls’ Aquatics to operate classes with several restrictions, and recommended exercise settings, which facilitate the requirement to minimise close contact and care of the aquatic area. Reprinted articles by industry contributors attest to the effectiveness of policy placement and provide clarity on these issues.

Source: Swim Australia

Regarding the transmission of viruses and other bacteria, strict adherence to pool management guidelines, in respect of cleaning and disinfection, is always required and this does not change with the current situation. In the interests of public safety, all pools which cater for groups of swimmers, regardless of their location or size, are governed by, and must provide evidence of, an undertaking that the pool environment will be sanitised and safe for all participants. Swim teachers, lifeguards, duty managers, and ancillary personnel are also required to follow the same procedures.

Detailed information can be found on the Royal Life Saving Website’s Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations (GSPO), which extensively cover matters such as technical and general operations, first aid, facility design, supervision, and programs. Evidence of safe administration and dispersion of pool sanitisation chemicals and pool area cleaning procedures are required to be documented and validated.

The recommencement of school swimming programs offers a fresh start for students and reimagining of skill sets previously acquired. Combined with new perspectives on essential life-saving skills and building confidence within students, the restarting of the school program offers new alternatives to other sporting activities.

All parents, caregivers, and guardians can be reassured that all sanitisation protocols have been followed and that, whilst there is some uncertainty in the community, careful consideration has been given to ensure all students can participate safely  within a clean environment.


  • Department of Health and Human Services Victoria, Preventing infection in the workplace, www.dhhs.vic.gov.au.
  • Guidelines for Safe Pool Operations 2012, www.royallifesaving.com.au.
  • Industry Restart Guidelines: Physical Recreation Indoor and Outdoor 2020, viewed 16 October 2020.
  • Love, J. Exploring the Relationship Between Swimming Pools and COVID-19.
  • Swim Australia, www.swimaustralia.org.au, viewed 16 October 2020.