Term 1 swim lessons cancelled

After-school swimming lessons have once again fallen victim to Covid-19 precautions, prompting fears that children's competency in the water may be slipping.

Parents of children in Moana Pool"s Just Swim swimming lessons received an email last week informing them term 1"s swimming lessons had been cancelled.

This was the latest in a string of cancellations since Covid-19 first arrived in New Zealand.

Water Safety New Zealand (WSNZ) chief executive Daniel Gerrard said the horrific summer drowning toll had him suspecting a lack of lessons might be affecting people"s water proficiency.

While lessons were off the table parents had a role to play in helping children build their confidence and skills in water.

"It"s about ... caregivers, mums and dads and wider whanau just going to different environments and spending time there.""

There were lots of resources online to help parents plan safe water activities, including on WSNZ"s website, and trips to the beach or pool were key learning opportunities.

"Lessons might not be happening but we can still be getting kids into the water, and different ages have different needs.

"There"s enough you can do in a bath with preschoolers around just basic water confidence.""

A Dunedin City Council spokesman said since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, eight out of the nine terms of swimming lessons had been disrupted in some form, and term 2 of 2020 had been cancelled in its entirety.

Nine staff across the aquatic services department were isolating after testing positive for Covid-19, and the decision to pause swimming lessons was made to keep people safe and slow the spread of the virus, he said.

The decision would be reviewed at the end of March.

Other services at Dunedin"s pools were affected by the reduced staffing levels over the weekend, including Moana Pool"s hydroslide, which was temporarily closed, and at the St Clair salt water pool, where hours were reduced.




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