It’s starting to feel more like summer in East Hartford.
On Monday, outdoor pools and summer camps opened, but the longtime traditions look different with pandemic precautions in place.
Laurel YMCA swim team members were the first to test out the waters at the Terry Pool in East Hartford and even their backpacks are spread to keep them socially distant in the pool and on the deck as well.
There was no chance of catching up with these swimmers. The teens were thrilled to be diving back into some sort of normal.
Parents and coaches we spoke to shared the same sentiment.
“And we really appreciate the town of East Hartford getting the pool back open for us,” said Erin Comite, of Glastonbury, whose son is on the team.
Eleven-year-old Anna Fetzko, of South Windsor, was waiting for her first practice, “I miss seeing my friends.”
“I'm happy homeschool is over. It's been really, really dramatic and traumatic,” said her mother Katrina Fetzko.
Just around the corner, kids we spoke to were pumped for their first day of parks and recreation camp.
“I'm excited because I can play with a lot of my friends because I haven't played with them for a long time,” said 8-year-old Myjah Gonzalez, of East Hartford.
While the staff will have lots of procedures to follow, they'll have a lot less campers to keep an eye on: 80 compared to almost 400 in past years.
“It’s been awhile since they've been outside so it's good to have activities, they can be in nature,” said camp counselor Aujahdai Ambrose.
But despite the changes, Director of East Hartford Parks and Recreation Ted Fravel is confident in his lifeguards and counselors.
They all worked for the town last year and have received comprehensive training in new coronavirus guidelines including extra cleaning, limited hours, and mask requirements.
“There are families, their parents are first responders, they need to get out of the house, they might live in apartments and condos and this is a safe environment right now if we follow the rules and do what we're doing,” Fravel said.
East Hartford making waves so these kids can return to some sort of normalcy safely.
“Positivity is really the key here and keep as busy as you can,” said Comite.
If you're planning on taking advantage of the town’s public swimming hours this year, you’ll have to bring a proof of residency whether it be a license or a parks & recreation or student ID.