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La Crosse closes all three city pools for summer 2020

La Crosse closes all three city pools for summer 2020

From the The pandemic hits home: Keep up with the latest La Crosse area news on COVID-19 series

All three La Crosse city pools will be closed for the summer due to concerns about the COVID-19 outbreaks.

The North Side Community, Veterans Memorial and Erickson pools will all be closed for the summer, the La Crosse Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department announced on Thursday.

“The level of public congregation that takes place at municipal swimming pools and the number of staff required to operate our three facilities creates an environment with a multitude of safety concerns,” the department wrote in its announcement.

Splash pads and beaches are being prepared to open for summer, if it’s deemed safe to do so.

Earlier in the week, the department reported that it was extremely low on staffing for the pools, having hired just about 20 lifeguards for the season. Usually, it has about 70.

Jay Odegaard

Jay Odegaard, Director of La Crosse Parks, Forestry and Recreation

Parks director Jay Odegaard also said earlier in the week that even with the low number of lifeguards, he was concerned about the safety risks they would have.

“If you have to go into lifesaving mode, are you performing CPR?” he said. “Are your guards going to feel safe? What happens if a positive case comes out of one of the swimming pools?”

Whether the city’s other roughly 50 summer programs will operate as usual is still unknown, but all of its park green spaces, boat launches and hiking and biking trails remain open.

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