Are swimming pools safe for kids returning to the water under Level 2?

After eight long weeks on land children across the country are ready to return to the pools for a much-needed swim.

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For many families swimming lessons are a big part of the weekend diary. Source: Seven Sharp

“The parents are telling us that, throughout lockdown, children are coming out in their togs saying, 'Swimming mummy?'” Bumble Bees Swim School in Christchurch's owner Karen McMillan told Seven Sharp.

Swimming pools nationwide have gradually reopened under Alert Level 2 following a lot of planning, including keeping the children in groups of four to allow for easy contact tracing.

Ms McMillan has owned Bumble Bees with her husband, Blair, for nearly 19 years.

“Just to see the children and their smiling faces was just brilliant.”

While Bumble Bees is focused on water safety, now it’s also about keeping kids safe from coronavirus, with toys being disinfected overnight and high-touch surfaces disinfected every two hours.

She says chlorine is a “strong disinfectant” against coronavirus.

“Once they are in that pool swimming, they are disinfected from head to toe."

Professor Allan Blackman, a chemist, says chlorine is "brilliant".

He said chlorine is as an oxidizing agent which "basically rips electrons away from the virus and causes the whole thing to spill open and become inactivated like that.”

Changing rooms pose a potential risk, however.

“If there is a danger with going swimming, that's probably where the danger lies,” Professor Blackman said.

Ms McMillan says she understands that parents may be nervous to send their children back to the pools.

“It's absolutely OK to be nervous," she said. "Everybody is in this situation together."