Parents concerned about COVID-19 protocols for extracurricular activities

Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
An instructor wears a face shield while teaching a small child how to swim. Credit: WINK News

With Southwest Florida continuing to see a rise in the highly contagious COVID-19 delta variant we asked people on our WINK Facebook page if the surge is impacting their child’s extracurricular activities. Some told us, no, but we spoke with many other parents who say yes, they are concerned.

They’re concerned that their kids can’t participate in these afterschool activities while being safe against the coronavirus at the same time, so a lot of venues have had to change their protocols to try and ease parents’ minds.

Goldfish Swimming School in Bonita Springs is one of those places that has had to change their entire operation based on COVID protocols: They widened the swimming lanes in the pool, their swim instructors wear face shields during lessons, and parents have responded well to some of these changes because they still want their kids to be involved in physical activities.

“I mean, that’s been kind of just an opportunity for us to enjoy our world as it is today,” said Vanessa Boyle, a Naples mother of two. “So for us to experience something where we can get them out of the house, we still feel really safe and secure with the environment that they’re going to be, out of the house, and I think it’s just so important for them to have some activity where they’re physical and they’re getting some energy out, and this really is the best option for us as a family.”

But one of the owners of Goldfish says it truly has been a challenge to keep kids socially distant from each other.

“Socially distancing was hard because I’m sure you know, kids want to be on top of each other, so we’ve extended our lane widths and we try keeping them six feet apart,” said co-owner Bridget Davis. “But the kids do… they’re magnets to each other. We really haven’t had any issues here with that.”

Different sports have had to deal with different protocols and repercussions: swimming and gymnastics can enact social distancing, but sports and activities like football, basketball and others are at a higher risk of shutting down for a longer period of time. Fort Myers High School had to postpone football practice for two weeks because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the program.

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