Hello to our Water Exercise Community,

We have missed you and hope you are well.

The message below is quite long however, we wanted to make sure we provided you with a detailed update.

The Y staff team has been very busy working to reopen our Y.
Due to all the Reopen CT State requirements, we have had to develop many new policies and procedures and have only been able to open in a limited capacity. As you can imagine, this has been very challenging work however, it has been very rewarding as those members that have returned have expressed how grateful they are to be back and how safe they feel while they are at the Y.

One program area that we have had many questions about is our Group water exercise program and we are happy to announce that starting the week of July 13th, we will be offering 2 water exercise classes per week in the Large Pool
While this is a fraction of the amount of classes we historically ran each week, the spacing and social distancing requirements that we now have to operate under have radically reduced the number of members we can have in our pool and in each lane. Therefore, we have had to increase the amount of lap swim availability to accommodate all of our members wanting to swim.
In addition, we have seen a large increase in the demand for lap swimming as many members feel most comfortable swimming verses exercising in the fitness center.

At the same time, we understand that historically our water exercise program has been very popular and that many of you have been asking when classes will return. So based on this, we are going to be introducing Group Water exercise classes back into the Large Pool on a limited basis two afternoons a week: 

Mondays    1:15pm - 2:15pm
Thursdays 1:15pm - 2:15pm 
We realize in addition to the limited schedule, these classes will not be offered during the traditional morning times but as mentioned before,  this is a result of our  capacity  restrictions and the need for increased lap swimming times.

Once we see how these initial group water exercise classes are received and what type of demand we get, we will then reassess and look for ways to increase the number of classes if we see large waiting lists. 

Another detail to explain is class size and this, like the policy changes already mentioned, is being determined by the distancing requirements stated in the Reopen CT State guidelines we have to follow.
We want our members to be able to remove their face masks while taking any group exercise class and to allow that, we have to maintain 12 feet between group participants. As you can imagine, this drastically reduces the amount of members we can have in a class.  Therefore, our new class maximum for our Group Water exercise classes will be 9 members. The only way we could increase this would be to have some people doing the class in the deep end while others were in the shallow end and we hope you would agree that this would not be manageable for the instructor and also would not be favorable to many of our members. So to allow as many members access to these classes, we will initially limit registration to just one class. 

Registration will be opening at 12:00pm on Monday July 6th 
This can be done  online or by phone.

If by Friday, 7/10 there are still spaces open, we will allow members to register for a second class.  The classes will be for a seven week session and all members will be required to pay the class fees, there will be no waiving of any fee for Fit Plus members. 

One last thing we wanted to update you on was the Small Pool. Many of you have asked when it will reopen and when we will be offering group classes in there. We wish we had a quick answer but unfortunately, it is quite complicated. The increased complexity of our day to day operations based on all the new policies and procedures has taxed our staff already and to add the operations of an additional pool is something that has to be approached strategically. In addition, based on the capacity and spacing requirements, the amount of people allowed in the Small Pool at one time would be extremely limited. We are seeing if we can even allow more than one member at a time in the pool let alone offer any type group exercise class or youth lessons and therefore, we have to take all of this into consideration when looking at the amount of work it will take operationally to open that pool. 

I know for many of you who are ready to get back to group water exercise classes or get back into the small pool, this email is not what you were hoping for and has left you feeling frustrated. Please know that your Y staff family shares that frustration. We are here because of you, our members and not being able to offer the services that we know you care so much about is the exact opposite of what our mission is all about. 

Please know that we are working every day to try and find solutions and make our Y work within our new reality. Your wellness and safety is our number one priority so we will continue to follow all of the guidelines set for us but as soon as we receive any changes in the guidelines, we will readjust our policies which hopefully, is not too far in the future.
I hope we have been able to provide you with some insight and answer some of your questions.  We will be sending  out a second (BRIEF!!) email tomorrow with the  class  details  and the registration link . We will also include  the direct phone number to  the Welcome Center in case you want to call to register. Reminder, registration will open Monday 7/6 at 12:00pm. 

Thank you for all your support of our Y and please feel free to contact us if you have any additional questions

Heather Chandor and your Y Staff Family