Aquatics Area 

The following guidelines and safety measures for the aquatics area have been implemented in accordance with the most recent orders and measures put in place by state and local authorities. Please see below for more specific details.

  • Sauna – Sauna will be open for 1 individual to use at a time. We are asking members to limit use to 15 minutes at a time. Guidelines for use: There will be a sand timer located on the outside of the sauna door. Before entering the sauna, turn the sand timer over to start the 15 minute timer. When the sand has fully reached the bottom (15 minutes), the next member can enter the sauna and the member inside the sauna must exit. Face coverings are required at all times (except while swimming in the lap pool) including when using the sauna. 
  • Whirlpool – Whirlpool will be open for a maximum of 2 people at Meadowmont and a maximum of 4 in the whirlpool at NW Cary while maintaining appropriate physical distancing. Members must sit in the designated locations to maintain appropriate physical distancing. Face coverings are required at all times (except while swimming in the lap pool) when using the whirlpool. 
  • Lap Lanes – Lap lanes will be available for reservation only. Reservations will be available in 30 minute and 45 minute blocks. One reservation per member/household per day. Reservations can be made up to 7 days in advance beginning at 5AM online M-Sunday and M-F at the front desk; 7am Sat and Sun at the front desk. To learn more about reserving a lap lane, click here. Lap lane walking, running, swimming, exercising in place can be done in a lap lane during your reservation. Face coverings are required at all times (except while actively swimming in a lap lane) including while using the lap lanes for walking, running or exercising in place.  
  • Aqua Aerobics Classes – Limited aqua aerobics classes will be available. Please check the online calendar for the most updated schedule (Meadowmont and NW Cary). Face coverings are required while taking an aqua aerobics class. 
  • Pool equipment – Members may bring in their own swim gear such as kickboards, pool noodles, and pool buoys. To ensure adequate time for disinfecting and sanitizing, a limited supply of pool gear will be available to our members. No sharing equipment, for individual use only.
  • Cleaning – Regularly scheduled sanitization of all high-touch surfaces. All disinfecting products we are using meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19

COVID-19 and Water

According to CDC’s guidance regarding treated recreational water and COVID-19, there is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas. The CDC notes that proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) should inactivate the virus in the water.

As mentioned above by the CDC, proper operation and maintenance of the pools are critical to providing a safe environment for our pool users. UNC Wellness Centers have always placed a high priority of proper water maintenance and monitoring and this will continue in all reopening phases. Some of the safety measures and systems already in place include:

  • At least 6 manual chlorine and pH checks to ensure proper disinfection levels throughout the day, which is 3 times more than required by the local health department.
  • Latest line of industry’s most reliable and innovative water chemistry controllers that monitor proper chemistry levels of all our pools 24/7
  • Ultraviolet system on all pools. Ultraviolet (UV) pool sanitizers utilize a cutting-edge, non-chemical process that uses germicidal UV light rays to sanitize water. UV pool systems destroy over 99.5% of pathogens that may enter the pool. Toxic chloramines and other disinfection by-products are safely eliminated.

The aquatics area, including the main lap pool, sauna and whirlpool, will be open with capacity restrictions in accordance with state and local physical distancing guidelines. 

Aquatics Area Safety Measures

  • Numerous scheduled manual chlorine and pH checks by lifeguards to ensure proper disinfection levels throughout the day.
  • The latest line of industry’s most reliable and innovative water chemistry controllers that continuously monitor proper pool chemistry levels.
  • The ultraviolet system as a secondary source of sanitation: Ultraviolet (UV) pool sanitizers utilize a cutting-edge, non-chemical process that uses germicidal UV light rays to sanitize water. UV pool systems destroy over 99.5% of pathogens that may enter the pool. Toxic chloramines and other disinfection by-products are safely eliminated.
  • Perform ongoing and routine environmental cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas. All disinfecting products we are using meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Per NC requirements, limit the user capacity on the pool deck to no more than 50% of maximum occupancy. Max occupancy for Meadowmont is 29. Max occupancy for NW Cary is 33. Our actual occupancy on the pool deck will be much lower than the allowable maximum due to our restriction of one lap swimmer per lane and entrance to the aquatics area by reservation only.
  • Per NC requirements, limit the user capacity in the pool to no more than 10 people per 1,000 square feet of pool surface area. Max occupancy is 28 at Meadowmont and 38 at NW Cary. Our actual occupancy in the pool will be 5 at MEA and 7 at NWC due to our restriction of one lap swimmer per lane.
  • Hand sanitizer station and disinfectant wipes available in the aquatics area for members and employees.
  • Conduct daily symptom screening of employees at the entrance to the workplace with immediately sending symptomatic workers home to isolate.
  • Signage posted reminding people about physical distancing (staying at least 6 feet away from others).
  • Seating will be spaced over 6 feet apart to ensure physical distancing while lap lane users are out of the water.
  • Limiting the use to one swimmer per lane to ensure appropriate physical distancing.
  • Stagger swimming start times to minimize the number of people in the aquatics area at the same time.
  • Removal of all shared exercise equipment and other items from the pool area. Lap lane users are permitted to bring in their personal swim items such as leg buoys, swim fins, hand paddles. We ask our members to place all personal items on the bench provided at their lane and wipe down those items and bench once the swim session has been completed.
  • Face coverings will be worn by all UNC Wellness Center employees.
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times while indoors and in the aquatics area including in the sauna, in the whirlpool, while taking an aqua aerobics class, using a lap lane for anything other than lap swimming and while on the pool deck. 
  • During electrical storms, all members will be asked to leave the aquatics area immediately. 
  • Gym wipes will be available on each lap lane bench for members to use to wipe down benches before and after use. These wipes meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Swimming Safety Recommendations

PREPARING TO SWIM

  • Know Your Ws: Wear, Wait, and Wash. All members coming into the facility must wear a cloth face covering while not in the pool, maintain appropriate physical distancing with other members and staff members, and wash/sanitize your hands often while in the center.
  • STOP! Do NOT come to the center if you have the following symptoms: cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, loss of taste, or smell.
  • Bring a full water bottle to avoid touching a water fountain handle.
  • Towels will be available at the front desk. You may bring your own towel if you wish. 
  • Take a shower at home, in the locker room or rinse off on the pool deck before entering the water to help keep germs out of the water. Click here to see CDC’s Steps for Healthy Swimming.
  • Arrive as close as possible to your lap lane reservation time to their reservation time to minimize the number of people on the pool deck.
  • When you arrive in the aquatics area, please wait on one of the benches on the side of the pool before your reservation starts. This will ensure appropriate physical distancing and allow the current pool user time to exit the lap lane and gather his/her belongings before exiting the pool.
  • There is a 5 minute gap time before and after each reservation to ensure appropriate physical distancing between reservations.
  • Come ready to swim if possible. Minimize the items you are bringing to the wellness center. 
  • Gym wipes will be available on each seating bench at the lap lane entry point for members to wipe down the bench before use. These wipes meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

WHEN SWIMMING

  • Maintain appropriate physical distancing at all times with members and staff while in the pool and on the pool deck.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Exit the pool lane at the end of your reservation time in the same location you entered to ensure appropriate physical distancing. The next swimmer’s start time in your lap lane is staggered to allow you to gather your belongings and exit before the next swimmer’s reservation start time.

AFTER SWIMMING

  • Dry off with your towel and leave the area as soon as reasonably possible after your reservation time is over.  This will help ensure the next member can start their lap lane reservation on time. 
  • The locker rooms are available to gather your belongings, change clothes and/or take a shower. 
  • Gym wipes will be available on each seating bench at the lap lane entry point for members to wipe down the bench after use. These wipes meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly or use a hand sanitizer after leaving the pool area.
  • No congregating after swimming.

Aqua Aerobics

UNC Wellness Centers has always practiced proper operation and maintenance of its pools and we are excited to announce the return of Aqua Aerobics. Your favorite instructors are well versed in safety protocols and looking forward to leading you through a safe, fun, and effective workout.

We want to ensure the safety of all of our members and staff. Please adhere to the following protocol.

  • FACE COVERINGS FOR ALL MEMBERS – Face coverings are required at all times while indoors (except while actively swimming in a lap lane) including while taking an aqua aerobics class. 
  • PHYSICAL DISTANCING – Please stay at least 6 feet apart in and out of the water at all times. 
  • TRAVELING TO & FROM THE POOL – Check-in is required to verify your reservation and enter the facility. Self-scan your ID tag at the front desk. Plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed to protect staff and members. When entering the pool, participants must remain 6-feet apart. It is during this time that social distancing must be adhered to strictly because our participants are not wearing their masks.
  • ENTERING AND EXITING THE POOL – After you have checked in you will receive a ticket numbered 1-10. Remain at your bench until directed by a staff member. Staff will guide participants into the pool, from participant #10 down to #1. #10 will enter the pool first traveling to lane 3 in the depth appropriate for you. Numbers 9 and 8 will also be in lane 3. Numbers 7, 6, and 5 will be in lane 2. Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 will be in lane 1. Exiting will be handled in reverse order from #1 to #10. When getting into the pool, whenever possible the ramp should be used. Each student should en­ter slowly and individually waiting until the previous participant is in the pool and safely located in their exercise area.
  • SHOWERS – We encourage participants to use the pool deck shower or locker room showers before entering the pool to help keep germs out of the pool. Please click here for more information on CDC’s Steps For Healthy Swimming
  • HAVE FUN – We love chatting with our members! However, for the time being, we ask that you please enter and exit the pool deck quickly. Please do not arrive more than 15 minutes early to class and please leave the pool deck in as timely a manner as possible to avoid crossover and allow adequate time for cleaning and sanitizing between sessions.
  • EQUIPMENT AND LAP LANES – Lap Lanes will remain in place. Participants may need to duck under the lane marker or slip in the lane at the shallow end and move to a depth comfortable for you to exercise in. Equipment will be cleaned and disinfected before and after class. After class finishes, please follow directions on setting equipment down for staff to clean and disinfect.
  • RESERVATION SYSTEM – To ensure physical distancing, we’ve developed a reservation system. Registration is required and is accessible through your UNC Wellness Centers membership account. For more information visit, https://uncwellness.com/covid-19-updates/in-person-group-fitness/
  • WELLNESS CHECKS – We currently have an online Wellness Check option for your convenience. This online Wellness Check will allow you to complete the COVID-19 wellness screening questions on your smartphone or your desktop. If completed on your desktop, print a copy or take a picture with your smartphone of the completed certificate and bring it in the day you plan to enter the wellness centers. If you complete the Wellness Check on your smartphone, you will show your completed certificate from your phone for the day you are entering the wellness centers. It may even benefit you to take a screenshot for easier access on the smartphone.
  • CONFIDENT INSTRUCTORS & PATIENT STUDENTS – Instructors will deliver modified classes with less travel in the pool to assist with physical distancing.

While some measures may prove to be inconvenient, we are focused on providing you the best care possible. Abiding by these guidelines will help ensure the well-being of our members and staff. Thank you for your cooperation. For any questions or to share your feedback on our group fitness programming, please contact Paula Keck, Fitness Programs Manager, at Paula.Keck@unchealth.unc.edu.

Private Swim Lessons

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, our normal group swim lesson schedule is not feasible at this time. However, we know that many of our young swimmers need to learn this life skill. If you have an interest in private swim lessons, please let us know and contact Heather Murphy at Heather.Murphy@unchealth.unc.edu. Lessons are 30 minutes long with 15 minutes in between for cleaning.  The instructor will be in the water as needed and will wear a face shield during the lesson.