The future of public pools this summer in Sioux Falls remains uncertain

KELOLAND.com Original
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While COVID-19 restrictions in Sioux Falls loosen, some facilities are still uncertain of the road that lies ahead. The Sioux Falls Parks and Recreation Department is one organization taking it each day at a time.

March is just a few months away from the beginning of summer, which may be why kids start looking for summer jobs around this time. That’s also the busiest hiring time for Jean Pearson, the Sioux Falls Recreation Program Coordinator. The new coronavirus began to spread throughout Sioux Falls during this time too.

“Once the pandemic hit the city of Sioux Falls, we were directed to be put on a hiring freeze, so that meant I was no longer able to hire lifeguards, or pool cashiers, pool managers, so anybody I had hired they were frozen along with any other seasonal staff that we had hired on with parks,” Pearson said.

Pearson said the city is still on a hiring freeze, and she’s unable to hire any indoor or outdoor staff. She also said that the hiring freeze would need to be lifted before pools could open for the summer.

“In order to open the pools or any of our programs, we need seasonal staff to do that, and because they are not on payroll right now, we can’t do anything,” Pearson said.

Since summer has already begun, Pearson says hiring people could be a little more tricky.

“It just kind of depends if they’ve decided to go find jobs elsewhere. You know, it just kind of depends, that, or if Mom and Dad are going to let them work. There may be parents who are going to be like, ‘Nope. I’m not going to put you out there, put you at risk.’ That’s a personal call and one I completely respect. If it gets lifted it will be interesting to see what kind of response we get; if people are going to come back and work for us or not,” Pearson said.

After hiring someone, they have to go through the paperwork and be trained as well, Pearson said.

We’re not in this alone

Jean Pearson – Sioux Falls Recreation Program Coordinator

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