On June 12, four campus rec professionals sat on a panel to discuss COVID-19 and their plans for reopening. Here is a breakdown of the information that was shared and some of the topics discussed.
University of Arkansas
Jeremy Battjes, the assistant vice-chancellor and executive director of University Recreation at the University of Arkansas
- Planning to reopen July 6.
- Will have 30-day segments of scaling up and down in terms of reopening.
- Will follow the CDC and the Arkansas Department of Health guidelines.
- Will be using 12-feet for social distancing in the fitness center.
- Looking into a tagging system to clean and disinfect.
- Locker rooms will be open but not showers.
- Intentional messaging will be key.
University of New Haven
Ryan Hagen, the director of Campus Recreation at CENTERS at the University of New Haven
- Planning to reopen August 3.
- As part of CENTERS, they have a company-wide playbook that covers various areas including facility prep, access control, cleaning, effective communication, etc.
- Will be going off of: six-feet distancing requires a masks, but 12 feet does not.
- The rec center is going to open up space for both Athletics and classes to use.
- It’s key to remember the freedoms of the past are gone, and to remind students of this.
California State University — Bakersfield (CSUB)
Mary O’Mahoney, the director of Student Recreation at California State University – Bakersfield
- The reopening date is still TBD.
- CSUB will be virtual for the fall semester.
- The rec center is still collecting fees and will look at continuing to do so for the fall, despite being only virtual fitness.
- Will be investing in the Fusion Go app and looking into de-densifying and air purification.
- Student staff can’t wait for their jobs so it’s key to face that reality.
- The spring semester’s virtual offerings were a scramble, but there is now time to put together a well-planned, organized “do together while apart” model for the fall.
University of Toledo
Demond Pryor, the director of Recreational Services at the University of Toledo
- Planning to open August 10.
- The fall semester has been moved up in hopes to have students off of campus by Thanksgiving in case the coronavirus spikes again — the August 24 start date was moved to August 17.
- There’s been a slow return of staff to campus; programming staff returned the week of June 15.
- Staff will be issued sneeze guards when the rec center reopens.
- There will be a third shift which will be heavy on cleaning.
- The rec center will close at 8 p.m. on the weekends, and at 10 p.m. on weeknights.
- Everyone on campus must wear a face covering, but in the rec it’s just highly recommended.
Topics of Conversation
- Towel services – will you offer them?
- University of Arkansas: No, students will be asked to bring their own.
- University of New Haven: No, extra services will be eliminated.
- University of Toledo: Students will be encouraged to come ready.
- Will you offer club sports?
- University of New Haven: Talk to the other directors in your state and look at your state guidelines. But low risk/low contact sports are being considered. However, competing at other schools raises the questions of safety as you’d be sending students into different environments with different guidelines.
- CSUB: Look at national governing bodies of the sports and what they are recommending.
- University of Arkansas: They will be tiering activities based on contact and if the sport is considered low, medium or high risk.
- Will you have equipment accessories on the floor?
- University of Toledo: Any high touch pieces of equipment, like medicine balls, will be removed from the floor. Staff will watch training videos on how to clean other pieces of equipment.
- University of Arkansas: Kettlebells and medicine balls will be removed as they have high touch points. There will be a delay between usage periods of equipment to give the disinfectant the correct amount of time needed to kill germs.
- How are you communicating patron cleanliness and requirements?
- University of Toledo: The website will be host to the requirements put on patrons for coming into the rec center to work out. The messaging needs to be engaging and clear.
- CSUB: When it comes to cleanliness and requirements for patrons, you need to ask them to “play along.”
Curious to learn more about what the above universities are planning for group fitness, pools, virtual offerings and more? Check out the recording of the roundtable found here.