All schools in the State that have swimming pools may soon have to make some modifications to them.
Once the State government gives its approval to a new set of comprehensive regulations framed for pools, over 90 schools will be asked to alter their pools’ existing designs to make them safer for users. A chunk of these schools are in the larger cities, and most of them are not designed as per the new norms.
The need for enhanced safety in pools was made painfully evident after the tragic death of a nine-year-old student in a swimming pool at PSBB School in K.K. Nagar in August.
Under the new regulations, diving will not be permitted in school pools. Any schools that have this facility will be asked to remove it. The maximum permissible depth will now be 5.5 feet.
This measure was arrived at based on inputs from officials of the Sports Development Authority of India as well as town planners. This depth, officials said, will be enough for all swimming activities including a back flip to facilitate a second lap.
Four sets of dimensions for school pools will now be allowed. The maximum size a pool can be is now 50 metres long and 25 metres wide. The minimum size, under the regulations, will be 10 metres by 6 metres. The other two permissible dimensions are: 25m by 16m and 15m by 10m.
Officials of the directorate of town and country planning, Chennai metropolitan development authority, fire and rescue services and other agencies were involved in the framing of the regulations.
Initially, the regulations were to be restricted to schools alone, but the government has decided to bring in the norms for pools in all buildings, including residential ones.
Other dimensions are likely to be allowed for residential pools, but the regulations will also cover the deck area, timings of life guards, maximum number of people in the pool, the filtering system and health checks on users.