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Woodley Pool 2020 Season Update
Woodley Recreation Association
Message to Membership Regarding the 2020 Season
Dear Woodley Shareholders and Members:
As we navigate these uncertain times, we wanted to communicate with you about the status of the 2020 summer season at Woodley Pool, and what the Board is doing to prepare. First, we want to express our hope that everyone in the Woodley family remains safe and healthy, and that your spirits remain high. Second, we know that you have questions about the pool’s status as we endure this lock down and social distancing, and we want to answer as best we can, understanding this is a fluid situation. We ask for your patience as we confront these unprecedented challenges.
The idea of the pool not opening, or opening late, is very difficult for all of us who love Woodley Pool and the summer experience we value so highly—spending time with family and friends, reestablishing old bonds, and making new friends as our community comes together.
Below are answers to the most frequent questions we have received.
Will the pool open?
As you know, Governor Northam issued a State-wide stay-at-home order on March 30th effective until June 10th. While we
don’t know how this all plays out, we have set a tentative opening date of Saturday, June 13th. That date could move up or back depending on further guidance from the State and Fairfax County. Nevertheless, until we are told otherwise, it is our hope and expectation that the pool will open in June. We continue to work with our pool management company and monitor guidance from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health, and we will respond and adjust as circumstances warrant.
Even though we plan to open, we anticipate being placed under some sort of operating restrictions designed to ensure that physical distancing can occur. Fortunately, our grounds are relatively large, which will facilitate rearranging furniture to ensure proper distance can be maintained. Nevertheless, the Board continues to consider what else we may do, to include possibly restricting the use of guest passes or cancelling Pavilion rentals. These decisions have not been made and will depend not only on what restrictions are placed on us, but also the level of our membership this season. We will continue to consider all options to ensure the safety of our members, and to achieve the balance between maintaining public health and returning to some measure of normality for our families. We should note, too, that there is at least the possibility that our maximum capacity will be reduced by the State and Fairfax County to ensure that our members are able to maintain safe distancing practices.
Will It Be Safe?
First, we would point you to CDC guidance on the question of whether COVID-19 can spread through pools and other recreational water facilities:
There is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools, hot tubs or spas, or water playgrounds. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools, hot tubs or spas, and water playgrounds should inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19.
We will ensure, together with our pool management company, that all appropriate health and safety requirements are observed with respect to the operation of the pool.
Second, on the possibility of community transmission, as stated above, we expect at a minimum to adopt practices to encourage physical distancing at the pool. We do not have all the answers now, and we expect to be given further direction by State and County authorities, but we will be responsive.
What is the Board doing to prepare for the season?
We remain in close contact with our pool management company and insurance carrier and are monitoring guidance from Federal and State agencies. Further, we continue to reassess our annual budget to cut expenses everywhere we can to ensure we remain fully operational while minimizing any financial loss to the pool. We are preparing the pool as usual, and it will be in an operational state throughout the summer. As with every year, we are making necessary repairs to the facility and preparing the grounds.
For those who are wondering, the pool cannot remain in a “winterized” state. It would not be healthy for the pool itself, and would increase long-term costs. The health of the pool requires that it be prepared for summer use, with the usual cleaning, preparation, and application of chemicals. For this reason, Woodley Pool will incur significant operational expenses, even if we do not open at all. In addition to these operating costs, there are other fixed costs associated with the maintenance and protection of the grounds, including our insurance policies, grounds maintenance contract, member management software system, security, and utilities.
Finally, as mentioned above, the Board continues to consider all possible operating restrictions that may be placed on us, and how we might implement and respond to them in a fair and equitable manner.
Will the Early Bird window be extended?
With respect to membership rates, Early Bird pricing will be extended through midnight, May 15th. Please note that we do not anticipate extending it further. Purchasing memberships in the Early Bird window helps the Board plan by providing visibility and certainty on membership levels, our primary source of income. This is especially important this year given the uncertainty and the possibility of operating restrictions reducing income from other sources.
If you are considering a membership this year, we strongly encourage you to buy during the Early Bird window, especially in light of our generous refund policy. While we are preparing for fewer memberships than usual this year, we really do not know what will happen. We can envision a scenario where community pools are the only outlet that people have, with fewer summer vacations, fewer or no camps, less travel in general. There is a possibility that our membership will spike in May and June as people decide they’ve had enough of indoor life, and the Governor opens outdoor recreational facilities, like Woodley, for business. We just don’t know.
If you want to support our pool, please consider buying your membership now.
What is the refund policy?
If the pool does not open at all for this season, the Board will issue refunds for membership dues. Not every pool in our area will choose to do this. And by doing this, the pool will incur a significant loss owing to our fixed expenses. But we feel it is important that we not break faith with our shareholders and members, even as we are asking you to consider purchasing a membership in uncertain times.
If the pool does open, then our standard policies apply. Members who purchase their membership prior to the start of the season will have 11 days from opening day to request a refund, or in the case of shareholders, to switch to an inactive membership. Those who purchase after the season starts will have 11 days from purchase to make such requests. Again, our refund policy may be the most generous among all our sister pools, but we value your membership and goodwill.
How can I help?
The best way you can help right now is by buying your membership before May 15th. Once the pool is open, we will ask for your patience as we work through whatever restrictions are placed on us.
In the event we are not allowed to open at all, you may forego your membership dues (or any other amount you wish) in lieu of requesting a refund, as a way to support the pool in light of the significant loss the pool would take. We hope this option becomes moot by the time we are swimming, grilling, and practicing appropriate physical distancing come June, but we know how much you love Woodley Pool, and we wanted you to know this would be an option.
What about the Woodley Warrior Swim and Dive Teams?
Our Woodley Warrior Swim and Dive team representatives are in regular communication with NVSL about the upcoming season. The swim and dive teams present unique challenges under these circumstances. More information will come from the team representatives once available.
You didn’t answer my question
We hope to see you at the pool in June.
WRA Board of Directors