AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Amarillo’s Southwest and Southeast city pools are set to open the end of May after being closed last year due to COVID-19 while the Warford pool is currently open and the Thompson Park pool remains under construction.
The city is still looking to fill some aquatics positions and are taking COVID-19 precaution measures to keep people safe at the pools.
Amarillo Parks and Recreation has had trouble filling pool staff and lifeguard positions.
Currently they’ve only filled about half of the positions, so they are still looking to hire lots of staff.
The city says finding lifeguards has been the biggest issue.
“Last summer we obviously had to close the pools down and a big part of that was staffing. We weren’t able to hire seasonal staff last summer. It was just not doable at the time. For the most part we’re doing pretty good considering what the national standard is right now for trying to get those kinds of positions hired. So, we’re working hard to get it done, I feel confident it’s going to happen but it has been challenging,” said Kristen Wolbach, coordinator of PR and programs for Amarillo Parks and Recreation.
The city has been visiting high schools and colleges to try and recruit students for aquatics positions.
“We’ve struggled, over I would say over the last five to 10 years to hire that high school and college age student. As better quality of life amenities come on board in Amarillo, its bigger competition for those high school age, college age staff members,” said Wolbach.
They are now hiring lifeguards age 15 and older.
The 15-year-old’s will be fully trained like everyone else, but will have limited hours.
“Luckily with most of our facilities, we have pretty much, it’s designed to socially distance. There’s plenty of different professionals saying that outdoor events, specifically aquatic events, are not known to be high risk, they are actually really low risk,” said Wolbach.
Some COVID-19 precautions the city will be taking to keep people safe at the pools are frequently sanitizing the highly used areas as well as taking long breaks to enhance cleaning.
“We’re still following the standard protocol as far as sanitation goes. Any high use areas we’re obviously going to be sanitizing those frequently. One of the cool things about some of our facilities this summer is we’re going to break them into different sessions. So, we’ll actually have a big break in-between those sessions where we can really get in there, sanitize really well and do enhance cleaning to keep everyone safe,” said Wolbach.
The Thompson Park pool is in its final construction phase and is on track to open Memorial Day, but they need help filling staff there as well.
If interested in applying for one of the seasonal jobs available at the city pools, click the link for the application.