Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Monday signed a comprehensive pool safety bill approved after two drowning deaths within a year at public schools in Connecticut.
Starting on July 1, schools would be required to have a trained swimming instructor or lifeguard on duty during swimming lessons, practices or competitions. That additional person would be required to watch for and assist swimmers who are in danger. By next year, districts would be required to develop a safety plan for their school pools.
The measure had broad support from both parties. But as it wound its way through the General Assembly, some critics raised concerns about potential costs of hiring new swim teachers and lifeguards.
The final version of the bill still requires those additional certified pool watchers, but it does not require that they be paid, meaning that volunteers or even trained students could fill those roles.
Lawmakers began working on the pool safety issue after Manchester High School freshman Malvrick Donkor, 14, died during a swim class in the main pool at Manchester High School on Nov. 21. Last January, 15-year-old Marcum Asiamah also drowned during a swim class, at East Hartford High School.