TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — 17-year-old Gwyn Stewart said lifeguarding is in the family.
"My parents were also lifeguards. It's kind of a family tradition you could say," said Stewart.
Stewart's job was quickly put to a halt when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but now, there's hope that pools in Pima County reopen in time for those hot summer days.
"We are cautiously optimistic. We are actively working towards trying to open up the county swimming pools this upcoming Summer," said Pima County Parks and Recreation Program Manager Grant Bourguet.
The CDC said they're not aware of any scientific reports of COVID-19 spread in pools and other aquatic venues. According to health experts, the chlorine used to clean pools will kill COVID-19 and other viruses.
Pima County is taking their own precautions.
"We're looking at things like maybe offering reduced capacity and offering limited enrollments in classes. We will do the basics that the CDC has put out for pools. That is sanitation standards, expectation levels and cleanliness of the facility," said Bourguet.
Reduced capacity rules would encourage social distancing, but in the case of a lifeguard rescue, six-feet would likely go out the window.
"In the extreme unlikely chance that it does occur, our staff are trained and prepared. They do have resuscitation masks in order to prevent air movement between what you are putting into that person versus what they are putting out," said Bourguet.
Stewart and other lifeguards will have a temperature check and symptom screen before the start of each shift. Stewart said it's a small price to pay to get back to the job she loves.
"You just get to know everybody as you work with them and keep the pool safe. It's a really good community," said Stewart.
Pima County is actively hiring lifeguards to staff its nine pools. To apply, click here.