BVNW Students change summer plans due to pool closings

With the county decision to close city pools students have lost or had to adjust arrangements for summer jobs.


Design by Courtney Krebs

Emily Moser, Writer

In an effort to lessen the spread of the Coronavirus, the City of Overland Park decided to close city-operated pools for the summer, which includes Bluejacket Pool, Marty Pool, Stonegate Pool, Tomahawk Ridge Center and Young’s Pool. Many neighborhood and country club pools in the area have delayed their opening dates for the same reasons.

As a result, some BVNW students are specifically affected such as rising Senior Matthew Bridges who lost his summer job as a third-year city lifeguard for Tomahawk Ridge Aquatic Center. According to Bridges, he was promoted to head lifeguard this summer. 

“Head lifeguards are responsible for teaching other guards necessary skills, as well as monitoring activity around the pool deck. It is definitely more responsibility and more hours, it pays higher than a regular guard,” Bridges said. 

Although the city pools are closed for the summer, neighborhood lifeguards are still preparing for the season. Bridges was able to secure a lifeguarding job at Nottingham Forest neighborhood pool near his house, but he was still disappointed that he won’t be able to work at Tomahawk this summer and will take a paycut from no longer being head guard.

Many neighborhood pools, such as Nottingham Forest South and Lionsgate, have delayed their opening date rather than closing completely. According to former BVNW parent and True Guard Aquatics manager Mindy Kochuyt, some neighborhood pools have delayed their opening until at least phase three of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s reopening plan. True Guard’s pools are supposed to be open by June 22, Kochuyt said. 

 Rising sophomore Raegan Rephlo is a first-year lifeguard for True Guard Aquatics, a company that provides lifeguarding and pool maintenance services for neighborhood pools in the Overland Park area. Although this year’s circumstances affect the timing of her job, Rephlo said she is not bothered by the delays. 

“This is my first year working, so I don’t have any expectations which makes it easier for me to go with the flow,” Rephlo said. “I’m happy to still have a summer job, even if it takes a little longer for the pools to open.”

In an effort to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Kochuyt said one of the True Guard pools is requiring patrons to bring their own lawn furniture and to sign up for a two hour time slot if they want to attend the pool. 

“The delayed opening and city pools closing make me feel sad. I always tell my lifeguards that we are a summer memory for the kids in the neighborhoods. The pool itself is a summer memory. It makes me sad that this is just another thing being taken away,” Kochuyt said. 

Lifeguards and pool managers are not the only ones bein

g affected by these changes. Rising senior Olivia Shin is a nanny and her daily plans for her summer job are being affected, as well. 

“I planned to take [the boy I nanny] to the city pools because I don’t have a neighborhood pool and they’re always a good place to have some fun,” Shin said. “With them being closed, our routine is going to be impacted on a daily basis.”

Despite any setbacks the Coronavirus has caused for the community, Shin and Bridges agree that closing or delaying the opening date for pools is ultimately the right thing to do.

“Although I really wish Overland Park pools were still opening, I know it’s the right decision for the safety of Overland Park patrons who use the pools” Bridges said.