By: Mikayla McDonald
Campus Recreation will operate a soft-opening for students on the first day of move-in, Sept. 10, with reduced hours on both Thursday, Sept. 10 and Friday, Sept. 11 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.. However, the fitness center will not be open on the weekend of Saturday, Sept. 12 and Sunday, Sept. 13.
The grand re-opening will occur on Sept. 14 with regular semester hours: Monday-Thursday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8:00p.m..
With the excitement of campus reopening and the return of students, there are many energized students and staff eagerly awaiting for the UMW fitness center to reopen on Sept. 10.
Senior sociology major, Maren Eck, is an avid gym goer and says that she is “excited about the reopening because it means she can finally relieve some stress.”
Brittanie Naff, assistant director of Campus Recreation (CREC), said that she is “incredibly excited to reopen the Fitness Center to the UMW community.”
The Campus Recreation staff spent all summer collaborating with colleagues at other universities across the country to learn about the best-practices to keep gym facilities clean and healthy. Naff said that she cannot wait to see students this fall.
“Thankfully, I have stayed in touch with our student employees over the summer with virtual training and staff meetings, but there’s nothing that compares to feeling their energy in our facility!” said Naff. “While we are swimming in unchartered territory, we feel confident that our new procedures can minimize the risk of spreading disease, but we will rely heavily on the compliance of our gym patrons [inside and outside of the facility] to ensure a successful semester.”
Although the fitness center will be open, Goolrick gym, the auxiliary gym, and the pool will remain closed for the first few weeks of UMW’s reopening. The status of these other facilities will be re-evaluated to determine the best course of action for these facilities.
According to Naff, “the Fitness Center’s policies have changed and will include workout reservations, a limited capacity in the facility, additional cleaning measures, distanced equipment, and masks during exercise; all changes were made to mitigate the risk of spreading disease within our facility.”
The Fitness Center will also require use of face masks at all times.
“Frequently asked questions about wearing masks can be found on the Campus Recreation website,” Naff said. “Students who are unable to wear a face covering due to health concerns must request a formal accommodation through the Office of Disability Resources.”
The Fitness Center is also implementing a policy regarding the use of spotters in the gym. “Facility attendants, as well as other students, will not be permitted to help one another as a spotter to support the campus policy around physical distancing”, said Naff.
In order to make a reservation, a student must register for a workout time via the Campus Rec Member Portal. Gym reservations will be unavailable Mondays and Wednesdays at 11a.m. due to the Individual Exercise academic course. Students will be able to make a reservation seven days in advance prior to the workout, and reservations will only last fifty minutes at a time, beginning at the start of each hour. Nevertheless, students will still be allowed to make multiple reservations in one day.
The fitness center will also implement a “cleaning tagging system”, which will show students which machines are open and have been efficiently cleaned and sanitized by a staff member. Upon checking into the gym, students will be given sanitation cards which should be placed on a piece of equipment that has already been wiped down with a sanitation wipe. Students will also have to tag the machine for staff to deep clean the exercise machine.
In addition, the fitness center will still be renting out equipment with limitations. Equipment that will be available for rent are resistance bands and leather weight belts, all which have surfaces that can be easily cleaned. Equipment such as cable ankle attachments, and basketballs will not be available at this time.
Graduate coordinator for sport clubs and intramural sports & fitness instructor, Carolyn Rouse, explained the status of group activities for the semester.
“There will be group fitness classes this semester, such as SHiNE Dance Fitness, Total Body Burn, Barre, Cardio Intervals, and Core and More, as well as outdoor options which will be socially distanced.”
Campus Recreation will be offering Zoom fitness classes and outdoor classes starting Monday Sept. 21.
To provide more resources for students to stay active on campus, Naff recommends “performing an outdoor workout on campus, or following an at-home workout found on Campus Recreation’s YouTube or Instagram, as well as being on the lookout for outdoor on-campus workout suggestions, which will be posted to our social media soon!”