COVID-19 Phase 3 Pool Updates – June 25

Earlier this week, Governor Northam announced that every region of the Commonwealth is expected to move to Phase 3 on Wednesday, July 1. Likewise, we’re pleased to report our pool will begin our Phase 3 Procedures on July 1, along with new operating hours that incorporate swim and dive team instruction time. (Learn more about the swim team & dive team plans.)

Please keep in mind, until Phase 3 begins on July 1, we’re still operating under our Phase 2 Procedures, which do not allow free/recreational swimming.

Highlights of Our Phase 3 Procedures (Starting July 1)

  • Free/recreational swimming will be available! The state lifted the “structured exercise” requirement from Phase 3. Members from different households must still observe 10 feet of social distancing both in and out of the water. We will continue to offer 1 reservation per week/membership, but may adjust this limit in the future based on demand and utilization.
    • At least 12 available areas of the pool will be available during recreational swim times, including sectioned-off areas in the main pool, the “tank,” and the dive well. The baby pool also will be available. We’ll accept 12 household reservations during each 90-minute session.
    • Members are encouraged to rotate usage and share different parts of the pool during the 90-minute time slot — you will not have a dedicated area that is yours alone for the entire time.
  • At the 45-minute mark, the lifeguards will blow the whistle. At that time, please exit the pool area you have been using and select a different pool area that is not occupied. We also request that members reserve areas with shallower water for those members requiring access to shallower water to enjoy the pool.
  • Lap swimming-only sessions will be available in the early morning, midday, later evening, and on the weekends. We’ve also time set aside for members at higher risk, including members over 60 years old. Members will have 4 lap swim reservations per week; slightly reduced from 6 to accommodate more swimmers, and also because drop-in options now are available.
  • There’s no limit on the number of people from the same household that may share a swim lane or other area of the pool. (And we encourage families to make a single reservation and share a lane, to maximize utilization.) At this time, each swim lane or other area of the pool only may be used by a single household at a time.
  • The drop-in/walk-up policy will continue on a first come/first served basis. NOTE: Effective Friday June 26, drop-in users during household exercise time or, during Phase 3, recreational swim time will be granted access to the pool 15 minutes after the start of the time slot.This will help ensure people with a reservation have an area of their choosing, particularly important for those with young kids or lap swimmers. Any reservation made will be honored, right up to the last minutes.
  • In addition, we have a new policy on recreational swim reservations impacted by pool closings due to weather.

See the detailed Phase 3 Procedures and hours of operation starting on July 1.


Keep informed

As the summer progresses, we expect to make additional adjustments based on pool usage, state and local guidance, and member feedback. COVID-19 has resulted in a highly unusual summer. We continue to rely on your patience and understanding.

Please keep an eye on your email for future updates. Also check the Dominion Hills website, where we always post the latest information.

Be well friends!

  • The DHARA Board

Phase 2 Updates for Lap Swim & More (June 21)

We’re sharing some important updates to our Phase 2 Guidelines. Please read this email carefully as the described policy changes impact lap swimming reservations during the coming week and require further action from those who already made reservations.

We also have exciting news regarding a new walk-up policy for open time slots. Keep in mind, we will continue to update our pool guidelines related to COVID as the summer progresses and state guidance changes. We appreciate your patience with all of this. These are challenging times for the board and pool manager, and we are trying to be as nimble and responsive as possible while maintaining a safe, enjoyable pool environment.

Lap Swim Time – Clarification & Change

During Phase 2, as in Phase 1, we intended to allow one reservation for each of our 6 lap lanes during each lap swimming time slot. This would permit 6 reservations in a given time slot. The change for Phase 2 is that up to 3 people from the same household may use the lane during the time slot. Instead, the reservation system was allowing two reservations for each lap lane during each time slot (12 reservations per time slot). This resulted in the potential for members of different households sharing a lane. This was not our intention, and we have had negative feedback from the membership about it.

To rectify this, we are reducing the number of available lap lane reservations per time slot from 12 back down to 6. This will allow the intended one household per lane during each time slot.

Below is updated/clarified Phase 2 guidance to reflect this change:

  • Up to 3 swimmers from the same family may share a lane under the same reservation. If more than one swimmer is using a lane, the swimmers must maintain 10 feet of social distance while in the pool.
  • Swimmers from different memberships/households may not share a lane.
  • As before, each membership can make 6 lap reservations per week.
  • To accommodate this change, we have had to cancel the existing lap swimming reservations for the coming week. Therefore, anyone who has a lap swimming reservation during the week of Monday, June 22, please rebook your reservations as soon as you are able.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Also, make sure to check your “My Reservations Page” before and after making reservations. If there are any discrepancies, please let us know.

Drop-in/Walk-up Now Available

Starting Monday, June 22, if there are open time slots that have not been reserved in advance, members can use the open slot(s) on a drop-in/walk-up basis, first come, first serve. This policy applies to both lap swim and household exercise slots.So, log in and keep a close eye on the reservations openings pages, which easily allow you to see when there are open time slots.

Using a time slot in this way does not count against a membership’s weekly reservation allotment.

Also, please note that any reservation made will be honored, right up to the last minute of the time slot. You are still permitted to be late to your reserved time slot.
Important Note: At the moment, we are not scheduling reservations past June 28. We expect to adjust the schedule starting June 29, to build in swim & dive team instruction. Stay tuned for details in the next couple days.

Phase 2 Update on More Options for Members (June 17)

June 17 Update

Thank you again for your patience as we continue to work to expand the services of the pool as far as state guidelines will allow. We are happy to announce some positive changes based on the recently enacted Phase 2 from the state. Here are a few highlights.

  • Along with continued designated time for dedicated lap swimming, DHARA will also open for what we are calling “household exercise.” Our DH Phase 2 starts on June 20, however, you can reserve slots now. The reservations include several 90-minute sessions per day where the entire family can come and enjoy the pool. Here are a few important guidelines relating to household exercise time.
  • Just like dedicated lap swimming, members must reserve time on our website. Initially, we are allowing one household exercise slot per week, just to make sure we don’t oversubscribe resources. This will be in addition to the 6 lap swimming reservations already in place. See Phase 2 information and reservation links.
  • There will be 12 total available areas of the pool during household exercise time:
    1. Three deep lap lanes in the main pool (near the dive well).
    2. Three shallower lap lanes in the main pool that will be roped off in three perpendicular sections.
    3. The “tank,” which will be roped off, dividing it in half.
    4. The dive well, which also will be divided into 4 sections for treading water.
    * Entire families will be able to come enjoy the pool but only three members of each family can be in the pool at the same time … and still must be socially distanced from each other (unless a parent/guardian is helping a minor swim).
  • Be aware that the state’s Phase 2 guidelines (page 23) very specifically prohibit recreational swimming and all pool activities must be structured exercise. Examples of structured exercise include lap swimming, water walking, treading water, water aerobics, use of a kick board (please bring your own), and hanging on the side of the pool while kicking.

See the full list of DHARA Phase 2 Procedures

While we look forward to transitioning to Phase 3 as soon as possible, the state has not yet released the Phase 3 guidelines. We understand that recreational swim in some form will be permitted in Phase 3, and as soon as we have the state guidance, we will begin planning. Also, stay tuned for details about swim and dive instruction, expected to start by early July.

DHARA COVID-19 & Pool Updates

Phase 1 Update
Based on how the first six days have gone with our new COVID-19 Phase 1 procedures, along with the availability of swim slots, we are making some additional adjustments to current Phase 1 lap swimming rules.

  • Effective Friday, June 12, age restrictions on lap swimming have been lifted. Consistent with existing DHARA rules, swimmers who are 9 or older can do lap swimming unaccompanied; any lap swimmer who is 8 or younger must swim with a parent, guardian or age 15 (or older) sibling in an adjacent lane on their own reservation. Any child who is signed up for lap swimming must have previously passed the DHARA swim test.
    • Please note that if any swimmer is not able to swim for the entire 30-minute reservation, they must immediately exit the premises.  Members will not be allowed to wait on the deck until the reservation time is complete.
  • Members can still reserve up to 6 lap swimming slots per membership each week. Login and register for time slots.
  • All individuals in the pool must remain 10 feet from each other at all times unless one individual is unable to swim or requires other assistance. In those situations, a single household member may assist.

Phase 2 Planning
Northern Virginia is entering Phase 2 on Friday, June 12, and the pool is preparing to implement a new plan for Phase 2 operations consistent with the state released mandatory guidelines for outdoor pools (see page 23). This new operational plan will include designated time slots for both lap swimming and family/household exercise, starting late next week. (Note: Due to the upcoming reservation system changes for Phase 2, we are not scheduling additional Phase 1 lap swimming reservations past June 19.)

The DHARA Board is also coordinating with the swim and dive teams to initiate instructional-focused team practices starting in late June/early July. We will be sharing additional details on the Phase 2 plans next week and look forward to opening opportunities for all members to attend the pool.

Stay Well!

  • The DHARA Board.

Pool Update – June 8

Phase 1 Update
The pool opened successfully for lap swimming on Saturday, June 6. Based on how the first two days went with our new COVID-19 Phase 1 procedures, along with the availability of swim slots, we are making some adjustments.

  • Effective Monday, June 8, lap swimming is now allowed for age 12 and up (vs. 15).
  • In addition, members can reserve up to 6 slots per membership each week (vs. 3). Login and register for time slots.

Survey Update
Many thanks to the more than 370+ members who responded to the Member Survey. We’ll use the member input as we plan for pool operations in Phase 2 and beyond.

What’s Next?
The rest of the state is already in Phase 2, however we don’t yet know when northern Virginia (including Arlington) will enter Phase 2. Although we aren’t yet in Phase 2, the state released mandatory guidelines for outdoor pools (scroll to page 23). A follow-up webinar also provided additional information about Phase 2. We will be looking at the Phase 2 requirements, in combination with member feedback, as we prepare for Phase 2 and beyond.

We realize many of you are eager to come enjoy the pool with your family. We hope to open the pool more broadly as soon as we can safely do so. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and support as we continue to work through these challenging times.

Opening Update – June 2

Dear DHARA Members,

On Saturday, we sent an update on the plans for opening of Dominion Hills Pool, with links to the Phase 1 opening procedures and a COVID amendment to our Rules & Regulations. Today, we are announcing that we are reopening for lap swimming on June 6 — ahead of our June 13 target date. After logging into the website, members can now register for lap swimming for the first week.

We also wanted to provide some additional information based on questions and inquiries about some of the restrictions, decision-making process, and financial impact of this situation. We also have been updating the FAQs on the DH website and encourage members to periodically check that page.

Q: Why will access to the pool be limited to only 6 lap swimmers at a time? And will that be the case for the duration of the summer?

A:  The limit of 6 lap swimmers at a time is based on a Phase 1 restriction mandated by the state of lap swimming only, one swimmer per lane. We do not yet know the state requirements for later phases, but we are hopeful that they will permit greater access to the pool.

Q: Why is the minimum age to participate in lap swimming during Phase 1 set at 15 years of age?

A: The DHARA Board decided to allow lap swimming for age 15 and up in Phase 1. Prior to the Board’s decision, several other ages were discussed, both younger and older than 15. We understand that some swimmers younger than 15 can handle 30 minutes of lap swim and that some are mature enough to handle the social distancing requirements and other regulations put in place to safeguard our members and DHARA staff. However, after a lengthy discussion, we decided that 15, the minimum age to be one of our lifeguards, is the youngest age at which we were comfortable at this time. With recommendations and input from the Pool Manager, the Board can revisit this age limit after our first week.

Q: Will there be 3 slots per membership or per member for Phase 1?

A: The 3-slot limit applies to each membership. In other words, a family of five would be allowed three reservations each week (not 15). A reservation allows a single swimmer to swim laps for 30 minutes. The Board considered the math, and a cap is necessary given the limited capacity of the pool during Phase 1. We are hopeful that later phases will permit greater access to the pool.

Q: Will whole or partial refunds be considered if access to the pool remains limited throughout the duration of the summer? What if my family does not have any lap swimmers and we don’t use the pool at all? What longer-term financial implications will there be as a result of this summer?

A: At this time, the Board has not determined whether refunds or credits for next year will be provided. Once the season is over, and we have concrete costs/expenses, we will have a clear picture of our financials. The great majority of the costs that we incur are fixed (annual staff, capital debt/loan payments, insurance, property taxes, maintenance, etc.). And at this point we do not know what our expenses as well as revenues will be this season (we will lose revenue from forgone clubhouse rentals, swim lessons, etc.). We will revisit the idea of refunds or credits after the season. There are many unknowns at this point, but as member owners of the pool we are all responsible in part for operating DHARA. You also can view the budget for this year, which was approved at the February 2020 Annual Membership Meeting.

Q: How will planning for Phase 2 work? Will the membership be asked for input on interests and potential usage?

A: The Board and Pool Manager will begin detailed planning for Phase 2 when we have Phase 2 guidelines from the state. We will continue to send the membership updates as we move into Phase 2 planning. We encourage members to share ideas, understanding that some may not fit with state guidelines, the best interests of all members or the pool as an entity.

We again want to reiterate how disappointed we all feel that we are not able to have full use of our beloved pool in the same way we have enjoyed it in the past. These are not normal times, unfortunately, and we are working our best within the guidelines that we’re allowed to open the pool safely and in a manageable way. We will continue to advocate for clarity from the state/county and more specifics about what we can anticipate for Phase 2 and beyond, and we will continue to update you with developments.

We hope that this communication, along with the updated FAQ page, helps further answer your questions. If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact us at: Also, members can sign up to join a Zoom session with Board members on Saturday at 1 p.m. (limit of 100). This will be an opportunity for Board members to share updates and listen to member input.


The DHARA Board

COVID-19 Update – May 30, 2020

DHARA Members,

Thank you for your patience as we continue to diligently work toward opening the pool in a safe way and adhering to guidelines from the state and county. As mentioned in our previous update, DHARA has been in regular communication with more than 30 pools across Northern Virginia to collectively determine best practices and recommendations and lobby our state officials for the most balanced and safe guidelines for Phases 1, 2 and beyond. For now, however, we want to provide an update on our status as the region has now entered Phase 1.

Our target opening date is Saturday, June 13, though we are making every effort to open earlier. We will update the membership accordingly if we are able to open before June 13. To open, our Pool Manager must finalize lifeguard staffing and scheduling and conduct important training, particularly new training related to operating procedures for Phase 1. Additionally, we are awaiting the arrival of ample PPE and cleaning chemicals to properly safeguard our staff and members.

Phase 1 Guidelines
During Phase 1, the state has set forth specific guidelines for aquatics facilities. Outdoor pools may open for lap swimming as long as they only allow one swimmer per lane. Along with that, the Board has developed a set of Rules & Regulations for Phase 1, as well as Phase 1 Opening Procedures.

Phase 1 Operating Hours
Hours for Phase 1 will be 7:00am – 8:30pm, with 30-minute cleaning breaks every 3 hours. Our open hours will be divided into reserved 30-minute time slots to promote orderly and safe operations for staff and members and to accommodate as many swimmers as possible. We have built an online reservation system that will go live in the next week for members to make lap swimming reservations during Phase 1:

  • Members must log into the DH website to make reservations.
  • Swimmers must be at least 15 years of age.
  • 30-minute swim slots will be available.
  • Members will be limited to up to three slots per week at first, which may change based on demand.
  • We request that members leave 10:30am – 11:30am on weekdays for our members over age 60.
  • If you have ADA requirements, please email the pool at

Beyond Phase 1?
The state has not yet determined when Phase 2 will start. Also, the state has not released Phase 2 guidelines for outdoor pools, and so we don’t know at this time what restrictions and allowances will be necessary. Once there is more clarity and guidance on Phase 2, the Board will update our procedures as we are able and will let all of you know the details and plans.

We realize lap swimming isn’t for everyone — and that many of you are eager to come enjoy the pool with your family. We understand, and want to be able to open the pool more broadly as soon as we can safely do so.

Thank you once again for your patience, understanding, and support as we continue to work through these plans.

Stay well and we look forward to seeing you at the pool very soon!

 The DHARA Board


We have posted an FAQ page for our community here. As we have additional information we will be be letting you all know. Please stay tuned as we are meeting multiple times weekly to determine how DHARA will open for 2020.

Thank you all

The DHARA Board.

DHARA COVID-19 Update – May 18, 2020

Dear DHARA Members,

The Board has continued to meet to discuss DHARA’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Below is an update on where things currently stand.

We continue to closely monitor news and guidance from the state and county with an eye towards opening in some capacity when it is safe and responsible to do so.

Recently, the Governor issued Executive Order 61 easing certain restrictions and introducing a plan and requirements for further easing. Arlington, along with other Northern Virginia counties expressed some concern with the timeline. As a result, the Governor issued an additional executive order that leaves existing restrictions in place for Northern Virginia at least through May 28 (Executive Order 62). If and when we are allowed to reopen, it appears (for now) there will be some level of restriction on the number of people allowed at the pool and available pool activities. Some information from the Governor on what Phase 1 might look like for the pool may be found in Executive Order 61 under “Fitness and Exercise Facilities.” Keep in mind that Arlington is not yet entering Phase 1.

Given the unique requirements of operating a community pool, DHARA has joined a large number of other Northern Virginia pools in requesting more clarity with respect to operating outdoor community pools. View the letter sent to the Governor’s Office.

Finally, the full Board, a task group focused on DHARA’s response to COVID-19, and our Pool Manager have continued to both deliberate internally and coordinate with other pools to develop plans for safely and responsibly reopening consistent with state and local guidance.

The Board has created a new webpage on the DHARA website where we will post additional information, including our Phase 1 opening plans, as the situation develops. The Board is meeting again this week to further discuss these matters.

We thank you for your continued patience, and we hope to see you all (a few at a time and properly socially distanced!) at the pool this summer.

Stay well.

The DHARA Board

NVSL Swim Season News – 2020 Season Canceled

Hello DH swim families,

Unfortunately, there will not be a competitive summer swim season this year.  NVSL made the difficult decision that a summer season is not feasible.  We are sad that the summer will not be spent at Monday night and Saturday morning meets cheering all our swimmers to personal bests.

We will still plan to come together as a swim community to recognize our senior swimmers in some way.  We will also explore other ways to keep the DH spirit alive this summer.

Hope to see you all soon,

Meghan, Steve, and Beth

Below is the letter from NVSL:

Dear NVSL Swimmers, Divers, Families, Volunteers and Sponsors,

Planning for the 2020 season began even as the 2019 season came to a close. We eagerly looked forward to commemorating our 65th anniversary as a league of more than 17,000 incredible swimmers and divers. As we know, the spread of the COVID-19 virus resulted in significant changes in our plans and daily lives. Despite our best efforts to gather as much information about the implications of COVID-19 to confidently hold a potential season, we have reached the difficult decision that the 2020 season must be canceled. We feel profound sadness knowing the disappointment this will cause, but the decision was made to prioritize the safety of our participants, supporters, and communities.

Over the last eight weeks, both the Executive Board and the full League Board met more than a dozen times to monitor the ongoing developments related to COVID-19. We gathered input from public health officials, as well as elected and appointed representatives from all levels of government. Most importantly, we sought input from all 102 teams through the 17 Division Coordinators. The common thread in the feedback, along with the disappointment of missing a special summer tradition, was the commitment to health and safety. The Board greatly appreciates the constructive conversations that advanced the discussion on the status of the 2020 season. We took into account as much information as we could to determine whether the League could operate in a safe and healthy way that did not put overwhelming logistical and organizational pressure on the League’s teams. The final vote of the Board in favor of cancellation was 19 in favor, 2 opposed and 3 abstentions.

We expect that teams will have many questions, and we will work quickly to answer where possible. At this moment, we can assure you of the following:

-Senior swimmers and divers will have the opportunity to apply for 2020 NVSL scholarships.

-Team dues will be fully refunded.

We are looking ahead and already planning how to make the 2021 season the best one yet.


The NVSL Executive Board