By Curt Peterson
With fewer than 900 permanent residents, the town of Killington’s economic activity is generated by visitors to the Killington Resort — sometimes tens of thousands of them in a weekend. And those visitors bring their children, requiring structured activities, such as Killington’s Summer Camp program to keep them busy and safe.
But crowd limits, social distancing, hospitality business shut-downs and event cancellations due to the pandemic have made planning for the summer season difficult. And to exacerbate the challenges, many otherwise welcome visitors typically come from Covid-19 “hot spots” such as Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey.
Killington Recreation Dept. Director Sarah Newell spoke to the Killington Select Board about summer day camps during the May 19 Zoom meeting.
Killington’s popular public swimming pool is a central part of the camp activities menu, Newell said.
Nate Formalarie, communications
director for the AoCCA, said “All pools and swimming facilities – public or private – are included [in]the same guidance.”
Guidelines include limiting pool occupancy to single “pods” of 10, including counselors, at one time, half-hour swim time limits, then a half hour of pool cleaning before the next pod can enter the water. And, of course, the pods must remain isolated from each other when not in the pool as well. Each camper’s temperature must also be taken daily when arriving for camp.
The governor has indicated that he will increased the allowable crowd size limit from 10 to 25 on June 1.
“To me, the hard work of putting new protocols in place is worth it if we can guarantee public safety,” Newell said.
But time is of the essence, because it takes three weeks to prepare the Killington pool for use.
“The bottom line is that we have to decide by June 2 whether or not to open the pool,” she said.
The decision will be made at the June 2 Select Board meeting.
Opening too late will mean little use can be made of the pool before the crew has to shut it down again for the winter. According to Newell, Rutland, which has a more modern and easily-opened pool, will not open without state approval.
Bill Kerbin, Municipal Manager in Woodstock, told the Mountain Times their recreation center pool will remain closed for the season.
Most local swim teams have also canceled their summer season as swim meets often bring hundreds of swimmers, parents and spectators out.
The pool isn’t the only activity for the popular Killington Summer Camp. When it rains, there has to be a “Plan B” for indoor activities.
Amy Laramie, director of communications, events and special programs for Killington/Pico Ski Resorts, said the resort has “offered them Ramshead base lodge to utilize this summer for Monday to Friday summer camps.”
Newell has also been talking to Killington Elementary School about using their facility.