Natatorium reopens after months closed due to COVID-19

Students must sign up in advance using an online scheduling tool


Washington and Lee University’s natatorium has reopened after being closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I think pools are one of the safest places to be right now. The sanitizer in a pool, chlorine, is known to kill the virus and with the distancing guidelines it is a very safe way to stay active,” said Donna Hodgert, facilities and equipment manager and assistant professor of physical education and athletics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, properly maintained levels of chlorine in pools is able to ‘inactivate’ coronavirus.

Hodgert emphasized that opening the natatorium was a priority.

“Once students returned to campus, and we had lifeguards, signage and a plan in place to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 standards, we were able to open the facility,” she said.

New procedures and precautions have been put in pace to ensure the safety of swimmers and limit potential spread of the virus.

Some of these safety procedures include restricting locker rooms to six people at a time, limiting the pool to a single swimmer per lane to ensure physical distancing is maintained, careful sanitizing of the facility, and requiring patrons to wear a mask when they are not in the water.

Students must use an online scheduling tool to reserve time slots before arriving so the facility does not become overcrowded.

The community response has been positive so far, Hodgert said.

“Everyone has been very understanding. There were some glitches with the sign-upprocess the first day but pool users were verypatient until a solution had been found. The pool is busy and we are happy to see everyone complying with the guidelines,” said Hodgert.