By Andrea Lucia

PLANO, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – As Plano’s recreation centers attempt a return to normal, they’re facing a new obstacle – a shortage of applicants for summer jobs.

Plans to hold day camps and open pools for the summer could be greatly scaled back, as a result.

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The city generally hires 400 to 500 seasonal staff members, including lifeguards, camp counselors and recreation aides that work the front desks.

This year, the city has seen 50% to 75% fewer people applying than usual.

“We have much fewer applications for all of our positions than we’ve ever had before,” said Susie Hergenrader, with the city’s recreation services manager.

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She suspects some of the city’s former employees are sticking with jobs they found last summer while recreation centers were closed due to COVID-19. Younger workers in high school or college, she says, may have worried parents, too.

“Sometimes they don’t feel comfortable having their kids come back to work in an environment where people may not be wearing masks,” she said.

While masks are now optional, the city says most people wear them. There are other safety measures, like plexiglass in place. Without enough staff, though, the number of camps could be cut and pools could be closed for a lack of lifeguards.

“We will absolutely not open pools if we don’t have those positions staffed. So we may only be able to open one pool or one pool a week on a rotating basis,” said Hergenrader, “which will be really sad for our community. We want to be able to open up.”

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To apply, head to the city’s website.