SOUTH LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Just in time for this week's heat wave, public swimming pools are reopening throughout Los Angeles, including one the community has been waiting for years to use again.
Algin Sutton Pool in South Los Angeles has been remodeled and reopened for the first time in several years.
"When they said they were reopening, I made sure I was the first one in," said South LA resident Kevin Stokes.
Carlos Espinoza, aquatics director with the city of Los Angeles, said last year pool workers shifted roles during the pandemic, helping out with COVID-19 testing and other issues. Now they're glad to be back offering swimming and life-saving skills in the water.
"It's really important, essential that we teach our kids how to swim," Espinoza said. "Because of the drowning possibility, especially the young kids between one and four years old, they are at high risk of drowning."
There are COVID-19 protocols in place at the pools, including temperature screening and the required wearing of masks when the public first enters the facility. But once they are outside and at the pool, the masks can come off as long as they maintain proper social distancing from others.
The city is also reopening other recreation programs such as sports and summer camps, as well as cooling centers for the summer.
The city is also looking to hire more lifeguards and other pool workers.
"It's a really important skill," said Glynn Owens, an aquatic facility manager. "It's good for your health. It's good for fitness. Anybody can get in the water and just do it."