NORWALK, IOWA — It’s a nationwide problem, but it has come home on a hot day in Norwalk.

Due to a shortage of lifeguards, the Norwalk Pool is only open 1-3:00 pm in the afternoon, Sunday through Thursday, and 6:30-8:00 in the evening. The pool is closed Friday and Saturday. On a hot day its an even bigger concern here.

“We would love to have the pool be open,” said Robin Leaper, the Parks and Recreation Director for Norwalk, “We like to be open because we know that the kids that come to our pool are safe and they’re doing something constructive.” 

The shortage brought on by scarce numbers of lifeguards. Normally, the city hires over 16 lifeguards. This year they have only 8 lifeguard employees. On top of that some of those employees cannot work as many hours due to labor laws limiting the time they can work.

“Trying to work with the minimal hours that they might want to work and working around second secondary jobs,” said Leaper. “You know these kids work for me in the summer but then they need other jobs throughout the year so they tend to keep those other ones.”

There is also a concern for having enough lifeguards on shift so they can rotate time spent out in the sun.

“We watch the safety of our guards with the heat, that they endure every day, being out in the sun just tires a person,” said Leaper, “With the minimal staff that we have on a typical year we are able to do 20 minute rotations and one of those rotations would be going inside the guard room and being the secondary rescue, and this year with the short staffing we’ve not been able to do that rotation.” 

“This is really awesome because you get to hang out with your friends and just go on the diving board and going in the waterslide and all sorts of stuff,” said incoming sixth grader, Gage Witte.

“If you want more time, and you can also come back for the night swim,” said incoming sixth grader Ben Hammond. 

The City of Norwalk is still taking applications for lifeguards you can check that out on their website.