20210621-LOC-ROBHINHOODPOOL-1

The pool at Robin Hood Park in Keene, as seen Monday, will remain closed this summer after the city was unable to hire enough lifeguards to staff it.

The pool at Robin Hood Park in Keene will remain closed for the season, according to city staff.

Parks, Recreation and Facilities Director Andy Bohannon confirmed Monday that the pool is closed due to a lack of lifeguards. In May, Bohannon told The Sentinel that if the city couldn’t properly staff the public pool, it would not open.

Keene usually hires about 17 lifeguards for its pools at Robin Hood and Wheelock parks but has encountered difficulty with recruitment over the past several years. Back in mid-May, Bohannon said the city had hired 11 lifeguards for the 2021 season, which he said was enough to staff one of the pools.

The American Lifeguard Association says a nationwide lifeguard shortage has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused class cancellations and limited the number of college and foreign-exchange students looking for lifeguarding work. Along with high-schoolers, these students typically make up a good portion of the applicant pool.

Bohannon said the city will upgrade the bathrooms at the Robin Hood Park pool while it’s closed.

Meanwhile, the pool at Wheelock Park on Park Avenue is set to open Tuesday and will hold public swimming starting at 2 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, 1 p.m. on Fridays and noon on Saturdays and Sundays.

Bohannon said a full range of programming is still being offered at the Wheelock pool. A list can be found online at keeneparks.recdesk.com/Community/Program .

Mia Summerson can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or msummerson@keenesentinel.com. Follow her on Twitter @MiaSummerson