Did you tune into Campus Rec Magazine’s COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: Moving Forward?
If so, you may not have had your questions answered. Fortunately, the roundtable’s panel has answered them here.
- Laurie Braden, the executive director of University Recreation at Louisiana State University
- Rick Hall, the director of Recreation Sports at Texas A&M University
- Steve Thompson, the director of Campus Recreation at the University of Montana
- Roger Watson, the HPC marketing and building operations manager at Dixie State University (DSU)
- Lynn Wilson, the director of the Hamilton Rec Center at Colorado Mesa University
Question 1: Locker rooms: What about where folks have rented lockers and we can’t control who may be in the locker room at the same time in regards to where their rented locker is located? Or, any conflicts with lockers rooms being closed?
Rick Hall: Currently, by order of the Texas governor, our locker rooms are not open.
Steve Thompson: We are currently not regulating who is in the locker rooms at any given time. We are doing our best to educate patrons as to keeping their distance from one another.
Roger Watson: We are currently only letting those that request the locker rooms to go in and change. With our swimmers, we are having them shower off before they get in the pool.
Lynn Wilson: We put yellow tape across lockers and the changing areas with signs saying, “Showers and changing areas are closed. If you need to access your locker one time to empty it, please let staff know.” Prior to opening, upon request, I would empty the contents, bag them up and then leave them by a specific door at a specific time for a patron to retrieve.
Question 2: How are you handling opening up your outdoor fields, taking into account staffing/signage/sanitation and containment/ etc.?
RH: Currently, due to social/physical distancing regulations, our outdoor fields are not open.
ST: Our outdoor fields are currently closed for public rentals. This is primarily due to the fact they are utilized for our youth summer camps. The staffing, signage, group size and sanitation are all dictated by the Missoula City/County Health Department. So our camp staff follows those rules.
RW: Our Athletic department is in charge of most of the outdoor fields.
LW: On our campus, most of those are managed by Athletics rather than rec staff. They have officially “opened” a practice field and tennis courts with general recommendations but no staffing.
Question 3: Have you used technology like Strava to offer virtual competitions?
ST: We have not. We have used Facebook Live for our online fitness offerings.
RW: We have not. Looking into it but haven’t at the current time.
Question 4: For those who have open pools, what has been the behavior of users?
RH: Our users have been great. We occasionally have to remind individuals to maintain the six-foot social distancing requirement. All users are just happy we are open.
ST: Our pool will be reopening in early July. Happy to provide input once we have some data on this.
RW: It has been great. People are appreciative of being back in the building and enjoying our pool.
LW: Stay tuned as we are opening next week.
Question 5: What size for signs do you recommend?
RH: For our entrances, we use a large format printer for large signs that will be attached to sandwich boards. Many others are 11-inches by 17-inches and some on customer service counters will be 8.5-inches by 11-inches.
ST: Most of ours are 8.5-inches by 11-inches, and these seem to work well enough. We do have some larger signs that were printed by the university that are poster size.
RW: We have some A-frames for each of our areas to let people know capacity, etc. Most of our other signs are 8.5-inches by 11-inches.
LW: Depends on the location and message. We have one large sandwich board sign out by main entrance, 11-inches by 17-inches in some places, 8.5-inches by 11-inches in others.
Question 6: Who are you allowing to use the facility? Students, staff, faculty only? What about paying members who are not students?
RH: We are only allowing students who are enrolled and paying the rec sports fee, and faculty, staff and spouses who have purchased a membership.
ST: If you are a member you have access to the facility. This includes students, faculty, staff and alumni. The outdoor program and the golf course can operate to the general public as well.
RW: We only allow students, faculty and staff. We have sold a pass to those that will be students in the fall but are not currently attending summer semester.
LW: All members. Students, faculty, staff and alumni. Swim membership patrons will be allowed starting next week. No day passes at re-opening but will consider selling those again soon.
Question 7: Summer camp: How are you planning to manage social distancing guidelines and camp student ratio; camp activities?
RH: We do not actually run the camps. Athletics rents the facility from us for their camps and they manage the SD requirements.
ST: All guidelines are provided by the Missoula City/County Health Department. We can have groups of up to 50 in Stage Two with operating pods of 10. The total camp size can be no larger than 250. Each pod of 10 will stay together using the same equipment which will be wiped down before and after use. Each group of 50 will be dropped off and picked up at separate locations, so they almost act like their own independent camps.
RW: DSU Campus Rec runs summer programming. They are currently working on those guidelines for camps.
LW: Lucky me, camps are run/managed by Athletics. They use our spaces but they manage the events.
Question 8: Has anyone considered using an ozone sprayer to sanitize their equipment with?
RH: No, but we have purchased an “electro-static” sprayer to disinfect equipment, all counters and other touch points.
ST: We utilize spray bottles and an electrostatic sprayer for this.
RW: Our staff and Campus Rec staff clean the equipment top to bottom each night at closing. We have a mister ordered that can be sprayed to help kill germs.
LW: Custodial teams use an electrostatic mister on our equipment every other night. They hand clean on other nights.
Question 9: Is Rick willing to share his proposal for permission not to wear masks? The science of it all would be helpful.
RH: This is what we sent to the university’s president, the provost and the Board of Regents:
Studies have demonstrated that masks — including surgical, cloth and/or N95 as well as altitude training masks, which all place restrictions on breathing — can have a negative impact on the ability of an individual to exercise for intended duration or at desired intensity as well as increase discomfort while exercising. The primary mechanism is hyperventilation, associated with reduced tidal volume, which causes a buildup of metabolic byproducts, an excessive ventilation rate, a decreased atrial blood volume, a lowered stroke volume and ultimately decreased blood pressure. Due to this, there exists a real risk of syncope, loss of consciousness, and dyspnea for individuals who exercise while wearing protective facewear that limits their ability to move air in and out of their body at a natural physiological rate.
A second issue with many of our activities is the use of glasses, either vision or eye protection. Wearing masks causes the glasses to fog and create vision issues that can be problematic during activity.