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High school swimmers petition NJ governor to reopen pools, say mental and physical health is being affected

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Two New Jersey high school swimmers told “Fox & Friends” that they have launched a petition asking Gov. Phil Murphy to reopen pools for competitive swimmers who they said are "mature enough to follow guidelines to ensure the safety of every swimmer."

The petition was created by Jerry Zheng and Andy Moss, high school sophomores on the Somerset Hills YMCA Swim Team. As of Wednesday morning, the petition has garnered more than 4,300 signatures.

“Jerry and I have been competitive swimmers since we were seven,” Moss said on Wednesday. “This is our entire lives and our mental and physical health has taken a toll.”

“This is the longest I've been out of the pool probably since I was seven."

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The swimmers spoke on “Fox & Friends” as much of New Jersey remains closed amid the coronavirus pandemic with no official end date for the stay-at-home order.

On Monday, Murphy unveiled what he called a three-stage blueprint to reopen the economy from the COVID-19 shutdown, but gave no timeline on when stages would advance. He did, however, say moving from more restrictive practices in stage one to stage two would be a “matter of weeks.”

“Jerry and I started this petition to get the attention of Governor Murphy and open up the pools for competitive swimmers’ training and we feel like the signs, what the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has stated about chlorine deactivating the virus, makes it possible to return safely,” Moss told host Ainsley Earhardt.

“There is no evidence that the virus that causes COVID-19 can be spread to people through the water in pools, hot tubs, spas, or water play areas,” the CDC states on its website, noting that “Proper operation and maintenance (including disinfection with chlorine and bromine) of these facilities should inactivate the virus in the water.”

Though the water itself may not be a method of transmission, those who swim in the pool — especially if it’s a public one — could be. That’s why community pools in some states will not open this summer.

When Earhardt asked Moss how the swimmers plan to be safe outside of the pool, he said, “We're going to implement the social distancing out of the pool by spacing out people outside of the deck and we won't be using facilities such as bathrooms, locker rooms and water fountains to prevent the virus from spreading.”

Earhardt asked the swimmers what their message is to the governor. In response, Zheng said, “My message is that our swimmers are disciplined enough to return to the pool safely and follow the guidelines outlined by the USA Swimming.”

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The governor’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Fox News’ Madeline Farber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.