Ah, late spring! When an El Pasoan's thoughts turn to...finding ways to cool off.

Fortunately, after more than a year in hiatus, El Paso public swimming pools and spray parks are back in action and summer swim leagues are soon to follow. No one is more relieved than El Paso Aquatics' Recreation Program Manager Andrea Schiechl, who spoke with me for El Paso Townsquare.

However, comma, if you're thinking of piling the kids in the ol' family truckster and heading over to your nearest pool...don't. The Rona is still a thing and the Aquatics Department is still on-boarding new staff. Get the lowdown on what pools will be open and how by listening to the interview in the video below.

Schiechl (pronounced: SHEEL) points out that in summers prior to 2020 the Aquatics Dept. employed as many as 300 people, from lifeguards to cashiers to maintenance workers and more.

The novel coronavirus pandemic whittled that down to a staff of only 15.

Duke Keith

Not an easy fix as things start back up but they're getting there, on-boarding as many lifeguards and other staffers as quickly as possible for the summer. As it has been since last March, the virus and local infection rates run the show.

That said, all spray parks are open along with four indoor city pools open for lap swimming with a reservation.

Here's the link for the city's spray parks, which includes a button that will show which spray park is closest to you. Dog owners: this includes Pavo Reál, which features a separate spray park for your canine companions!

For general information, call 915-212-0394. You can also click this link, or this one for the Parks & Rec Facebook page.

Here are the indoor aquatic centers that are open as of May 1st with contact info. Hours are 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. Again, available for lap swimming only and reservations are required a day in advance. Pools will not be open to spectators and masks are required when not working out.

Two outdoors pools, Grandview (3100 Jefferson, 915-212-0571) and Pavo Reál (110 Presa, 915-212-0475) are scheduled to open May 31st.

Duke Keith

You might have noticed the title of the newest Parks and Rec facility above. The Beast Urban Park opened May 1st, featuring basketball courts, a library, senior center, meeting space and a full-size natatorium with 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards.

It will also feature The Oasis, one of the four new water parks managed by Destination El Paso that will begin to open this summer. Click this link for more info.

In addition, Schiechl talked about the city's summer swim leagues which will be back in operation later this month for children age 11 and under. As staff is limited, so will enrollment be, but the program starts May 17th for kids who know how to swim.

Click this link for information on teams, locations and to download the enrollment form.

Duke Keith

Schiechl is keen to re-start as many programs and open as much as possible, and as more El Pasoans get their vaccinations and COVID-19 infections continue to decrease this will happen.

If the good news continues, the end of summer promises to look a lot different from the end of spring.

Regardless of how fast or how slow all that is, it's already a world of difference compared to this time last year. Welcome news, indeed!

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.