Dresden children should catch up on swimming courses

Dresden. The days are slowly getting warmer again in Dresden, the sun is fighting its way through the clouds, spring is getting closer and closer. Many Dresden residents are probably already thinking of a vacation by the sea, others of a trip with the family to the local outdoor pool. But many Dresden children cannot swim properly yet.

The reason: After most of the swimming lessons for the current third graders were canceled in the past school year due to the corona restrictions, it has also been falling for the current second graders since the beginning of November. Since then, the Dresden swimming pools have been closed, and there is no rapid opening in sight.

According to the State Office for Schools and Education, at the end of the 2019/20 school year a good third of the second graders at the time were still non-swimmers. Around 5,500 students complete a corresponding course every year. CDU city councilor Matthias Dietze, himself a teacher and father, has now submitted an application that deals with the canceled swimming lessons.

The aim is that learning courses are offered in several indoor swimming pools in Dresden during this year’s summer vacation. “In addition, it should be checked whether and how it could be organized so that the pupils can also be accompanied to the swimming courses by educators from the holiday centers,” said Dietze.

Catch-up courses required in the summer and autumn holidays

In addition, it should be checked whether the courses can also be offered in the further holidays and in the coming school year. For the motivation of the children it would also be nice, said Dietze, if the acceptance of the “Seahorse” swimming badge could be made possible as part of the courses.

But not only the primary school students should get their swimming course, the kindergarten children should also be introduced to the water as quickly as possible. Dietze wants to have it checked whether the introduction of swimming courses with basic tests in the daycare centers, starting in the districts of Gorbitz and Prohlis, can be made possible.

How important it is to learn to swim can be seen in the number of swimming accidents that recur every year. “The basic ‘ability to swim’ is one of the cornerstones of the prevention of swimming and water sports incidents, especially among children and young people,” says Martin Zavesky, district manager at the DRK water rescue service in Dresden.

The water watch therefore advocates learning to swim early. “This can begin in the last year of daycare. From the age of five to six, children are able to learn swimming movements on a sustainable basis,” says Zavesky.

He welcomes the fact that swimming is usually part of primary school lessons. “In general, we still want to motivate parents to try to ensure that their children learn to swim. This becomes more and more difficult as the pandemic continues, as no alternatives are possible due to the necessary hall closings,” he says.

Swimming pools should remain open in summer

In the meantime, there is a threat that the second year of children will not be able to learn to swim or can only learn to swim insufficiently and is therefore at acute risk from swimming accidents. “Since no lifeguards can be trained at the moment, this situation will become even worse. Even if it is reopened soon, all institutions and associations where it is possible to learn to swim will be faced with the enormous challenges due to the limited resources of instructors and hall capacities. to be able to cover the need for swimming courses at all, “says Zavesky.

The problem with the limited resources is also not unknown to the Dresdner Bäder GmbH, which provides the water areas. And not only for courses in schools and daycare centers, but also for club sports and – especially during the holidays – for training camps. The water times in the six Dresden swimming pools are very popular, says pool spokesman Lars Kühl. “We have to consider a lot of interest groups.” Two employees are busy planning the hall times. “That’s not that easy.”

In principle, however, there is the possibility of keeping the halls open during the summer months – provided that the Corona regulations allow that at all. Normally, the halls are temporarily closed in the warm season and when the outdoor pools are open because repairs and maintenance work are being carried out. That already happened during the corona-related closure.

Bathroom staff must be scheduled

Another problem, however, is the staff, according to Kühl, who actually work in the Dresden open-air swimming pools in the summer months. In addition to the permanent employees, around 40 seasonal workers work for the Bäder GmbH in the summer, who would have to plan their deployment in the coming months. However, it is currently not foreseeable when and how swimming pools and baths will be able to start operating again.

With a view to the coming school year, the AfD parliamentary group in the Dresden city council requests in a request to Lord Mayor Dirk Hilbert (FDP) that it should now be determined how big the need for swimming pool times for Dresden students actually is in the school year 20212/22, albeit those children are taken into account who still have to catch up on their courses. These capacities should then be made available.

At the end of the last school year, the city provided free swimming courses for the second graders at the time; lessons were held in the swimming complex on Freiberger Strasse and in the Prohlis swimming pool. These catch-up courses were now also planned for the two weeks of winter vacation, but could not be offered due to the closed halls.

However, unlike the courses in the last summer holidays, demand for the autumn and winter holidays was rather subdued; in autumn only 29 families took advantage of this offer for their child. The city has provided around 45,000 euros for the catch-up courses, which are also planned for the Easter holidays. However, it is questionable whether the swimming pools will be open again by then.

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