Fifty of Philadelphia’s 65 public swimming pools are set to open over the next several weeks amid a national lifeguard shortage, parks and recreation commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell said Friday.

That’s a few more pools than opened last summer, when hiring was also a struggle. However, 15 of 22 pools that were closed last year will remain shuttered — 12 due to staffing and three due to renovations and repairs, said spokesperson Maita Soukup. Most of those pools are in North Philadelphia.

The first pools are set to open next week, with 26 operating by July 4, the commissioner said, and the rest up and running by mid-July.

“We know there is a national lifeguard shortage that we feel acutely here in Philadelphia,” Ott Lovell said, “and we have a massive number of pools here in Philadelphia,” adding that the city has more pools per capita than any other city.

» READ MORE: Lifeguard shortage threatens to close some beaches and pools in the Philadelphia region and down the Shore

For some Philadelphians, this marks the third summer their neighborhood pool will be closed, as no public pools opened in the city in 2020 due to COVID-19.

That has left children in some neighborhoods without a safe, walkable place to go amid a surge in gun violence. It also prevents little ones from learning how to swim, which could put them in danger, especially if they go to another body of water to cool off during the heat of summer.

The lifeguard shortage had been building for decades, Bernard J. Fisher II, director of health and safety for the American Lifeguard Association, told The Inquirer last week. But it was exacerbated by the pandemic, which halted lifeguard training and recertification, and now a competitive job market has many potential workers finding better-paying positions elsewhere.

As summer gets underway, the issue has halted or delayed the openings of pools, lakefronts, and beaches across the state and the country. This week, Chicago announced it would delay opening its pools until July 5 due to the shortage, and some South Jersey beaches may be closed if more guards aren’t hired.

This year in Philadelphia, pools or spraygrounds will be open in every zip code, Ott Lovell said. Seventy percent of open pools are located in low-income communities, she added, and the department tried not to close a pool unless there was another nearby. All open pools will offer free swim lessons.

» READ MORE: Philly residents in areas that lost their pool last summer say the list isn’t equitable: ‘Where are these children supposed to go?’

The city has hired 294 lifeguards, Soukup said. But it would need dozens more to staff all pools, Ott Lovell said.

The department is no longer hiring lifeguards that need training, but the commissioner said they would welcome any already-certified guards who want to work.

“It would help us a great deal,” she said. “We would love to have them.”

The pool-opening schedule is below, with complete details on the city’s website.

Tuesday, June 21

Wednesday, June 22

Thursday, June 23

Friday, June 24

Monday, June 27

Tuesday, June 28

Wednesday, June 29

Thursday, June 30

Friday, July 1

Saturday, July 2

Week of July 4

  • Hillside Recreation Center

  • Christy Recreation Center

  • J Finnegan Playground

  • Northern Liberties Recreation Center

  • Cherashore Playground

  • CB Moore Recreation Center

  • McVeigh Recreation Center

  • Cobbs Creek Recreation Center

  • Lackman Playground

  • Stinger Square

  • O’Connor Pool

  • Sacks Playground

  • 39th & Olive Playground

  • Lonnie Young Recreation Center

  • Houseman Playground

  • Feltonville Recreation Center

  • Shepard Recreation Center

  • Piccoli Playground

  • Francisville Recreation Center

  • Scanlon Recreation Center

Week of July 11

  • Hunting Park Recreation Center

  • Waterloo Playground

  • Tustin Recreation Center

  • FJ Meyers Recreation Center

These pools will be closed for a second summer:

  • Amos pool in North Philadelphia

  • Baker playground pool in Overbrook

  • Behlfield Recreation Center pool in East Germantown

  • Chew playground pool in Point Breeze

  • Cohocksink Recreation Center pool in Port Richmond

  • Dendy Recreation Center pool in North Philadelphia

  • East Poplar Playground pool in North Philadelphia

  • Gathers Recreation Center pool in North Philadelphia

  • Lee Recreation Center pool in West Powelton

  • Morris Estate pool in Ogontz

  • Narcissa S. Cruz Recreation Center pool in Ludlow

  • Ridgway Park pool in Hawthorne

  • Shuler pool in North Philadelphia

  • Ziehler playground pool in Olney

  • 12th and Cambria pool in North Philadelphia

Clarification: A previous version of this story had incorrect figures for the number of closed pools. The Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Department has since clarified that number.