Here are seven COVID-19 takeaways from the latest virtual roundtable on the state of the industry.
“We forget to live.”
Iisha Voltz’s words from last week’s Campus Rec Magazine virtual roundtable couldn’t have hit closer to home. Many of us in a lot of ways have forgotten to live this past year. But we are all hopeful change is coming.
As such, it’s time to dive into the current COVID-19 takeaways on the state of the industry and what lies ahead. Five panelists worked to answer questions surrounding implications of the 2020 shutdowns, hunkering down for winter weather in a COVID world, caring for staff a year into the pandemic, repurposing rec space and more.
The panelists included:
- George Brown, the director of University Recreation and Wellness at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
- Matthew Hackett, the director of Recreation at Syracuse University
- Stefani Plummer, the former director of the Recreation Center at California Baptist University (CBU)
- Rusty Vineyard, the executive director of Recreation & Wellbeing at the University of Idaho (UI)
- Iisha Voltz, the director of Campus Recreation and Wellness at Texas Southern University
Here are the top seven COVID-19 takeaways from the discussion:
- There is a strong need for staff self-care. Allow for flexibility in schedules. In fact, Texas Southern created a “staff only” workout area with the extra equipment removed from the fitness floor for social distancing purposes.
- There will be a careful mix of in-person and virtual offerings from now on. Professionals will need creativity, innovation, persistence and to give themselves grace in order to succeed.
- UI took two gyms offline initially for COVID testing. Now, just one gym is being used for testing — and potentially a soon-to-be vaccine site — while the other is for the often 30-minute wait line for students to get into the rec center.
- Minnesota-Twin Cities used the FusionGo app to retrofit its biometric readers to instead scan IDs, making the entry touchless.
- CBU has been going strong in outdoor recreation rentals and online programming. And over at UI, the department had a clever idea to rent out its 20 indoor cycling bikes since they had just been collecting dust.
- In terms of mental health, the key is to help people before they are seeking counseling. Mental health is an ever-growing issue, especially after 2020.
- Winter weather is here. But, Syracuse isn’t letting that stop it from serving students. Outdoor-related activities — like tubing, snowshoeing and skiing — have been a hit. It’s about putting the fun back into winter.
EXTRA CREDIT: Is the mental health crisis weighing on you? Three experts share their thoughts, ideas and approaches to addressing the issue on their campuses.
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