FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – At Jury pool, schools starting back up signal the end of the season.

Many of the workers are teachers or high school and college athletes who will soon have to trade their swim trunks and towels for backpacks.

And while it’s normal to lose their workers at the end of the year, finding workers this year was anything but normal.

Lifeguards have been in short supply.

“My staff has really had to step it up, we’ve really had to get people working days they should have had off,” Kim Yoh, the Aquatics Director with New Haven’s Parks and Recrereation Department, said.

Jury Pool requires lifeguards to get the class and certification to lifeguard through the American Red Cross, which can be a lengthy process, so even prospective hires couldn’t be brought on right away.

At the Northside Park Swimming Pool the story was much the same this year.

Jenny Barney, the Aquatics Supervisor with Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation, to come up with some creative solutions.

“We made sure our schedules changed a little bit, we closed Monday here at Northsides and Sunday at McMillen which obviously alleviated some pressure on our guards.”

And those solutions were much needed in a year that saw increased traffic attributed to lockdowns and other COVID restrictions ending.

“With the weather it has been a perfect season for the pool. Our numbers are up at Northside and McMillen, even pre-COVID,” Barney said

Both longtime aquatics professionals are looking into ways they can secure lifeguards for next year.

Barney hosts open houses at both of the pools she oversees to get potential lifeguards hands-on experience and entice them to consider being a lifeguard.

As for Yoh, she says that she has been brainstorming options with her superintendent to remain competitive in concerns with pay and is exploring a partnership with an indoor pool so she can have potential lifeguards trained during the winter.

It’s clear that both veterans aren’t afraid to explore any and all options to make sure they can provide splashes and smiles for kids and parents alike next year.