Committee Agrees Solo Aquatics May Continue Rental of Haverhill High School Pool; Calls Pool Low Risk for COVID-19

Roof repairs at the Charles C. White Pool at Haverhill High School in June 2020. (Courtesy photograph.)

School Committee member Richard J. Rosa.

The Haverhill School Committee agreed last week to allow Solo Aquatics to continue using the Charles C. White Swimming Pool at Haverhill High School with a number of conditions driven by the current coronavirus pandemic.

Athletics Director Thomas O’Brien previously requested the group be allowed to resume renting the pool now that the state has given its okay to limited usage of public pools. The Committee, however had some health and liability issues and sent the proposal to the Athletic Subcommittee for study. Committee Vice Chair Richard J. Rosa, a member of that subcommittee, said he is comfortable with the groups’ cleaning protocols.

“The plan is that they will clean the facility prior to the swimmers coming in and after the swimmers leave,” he said.

Rosa also pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined pools do not pose a significant risk of coronavirus transmission. Haverhill School Pediatrician Dr. John Maddox agreed with that assessment.

“Swimming is categorized at the lowest risk of sports. The pool itself and the chlorine prevents the spread of COVID, so being in the water is not a risky situation,” Maddox said.

Solo Aquatics has also agreed not to use the locker room or showers, to maintain social distancing and have no spectators

The subcommittee, however, set conditions such as increasing the insurance policy held by Solo Aquatics from $3 million to $5 million and provide a signed waver from athletes’ parents.

“There is an indemnification clause in the contract, but I think that to provide us with some more protection, for the city and for the school department, I think that we should have every parent sign a waiver that they’re not going to hold the city or the school department responsible if a child gets COVID-19,” he explained.

Additionally, the committee is requiring two coaches be present in the pool area at all times. The Committee further maintains the right to close the pool if the situation is warranted.

The pool roof was replaced in June at a cost of $640,000. Haverhill officials noted then, that since the high school one of the few schools with a pool in the area, many improvements pay for themselves with rentals.

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