Summer is halfway over and August, as well as the fall semester, are quickly approaching.
As COVID-19 continues to shift, rec centers are slowly opening back up. Three directors sat on the most recent panel for Campus Rec Magazine’s COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable: A Guide to Reopening to share what they have been up to in reopening their facilities.
The panel consisted of Teri Bladen, the director of Campus Recreation at Weber State University; Michele Muth, the director of Campus Recreation for CENTERS, LLC at Marshall University; and Janis Newton, the director of the Wellness Center at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
Topics covered included how to handle those who are not complying with wearing masks and the response if a staff member gets COVID-19; in fact, Muth shared handling a close call on her campus with staff getting the coronavirus. The panelists also discussed cleaning protocols, fall hours, swimming lessons, outdoor classes and renting equipment.
Below is a look at what each university is up to in terms of reopening guidelines for fitness and wellness facilities on campus:
- Reopened one week after the governor announced they were allowed to in order to take time to train staff, fix tiling in the pool, etc.
- They use GoCanvas on an iPad to record temperatures in order to not be in violation of HIPPA.
- Staff are on three-hour shifts.
- As part of CENTERS, they had access to Trello management tools, reopening sequences, signage, etc.
- They are using Neptune Radio to announce safety protocols and social distancing reminders.
- Many fitness classes are held outside.
- Masks have been mandated since the first day the facility reopened.
- Currently, the facility closes for an hour between 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. for cleaning. Muth is considering changing this due to the low number of users.
- While closed, Muth used that time to continually revise the financial impact.
- They pushed back membership versus giving out refunds.
- All part-time employees were furloughed; 75 out of 200 are now back to work.
- Kayak rentals have exploded, leading to the purchase of more kayaks.
- The pool is open and on June 13 will begin small group lessons of about three to four swimmers each.
Medical University of South Carolina
- The Wellness Center is set up for 40% capacity but is only at one-third of that right now.
- Students and community members use the center; however, you have to be a member right now to use the facility. There is no drop-in access.
- They closed on March 16 but took the last day open to be employees-only, which allowed for the team to say goodbye.
- For a while, the Wellness Center was a designated overflow for COVID-19 patients. Once released back to the university, Newton and the team began planning for reopening.
- The facility is following 10 to 12-foot social distancing guidelines.
- There are no fans, no towels, and the showers and steam rooms are closed.
- MUSC invested in a 90-second spray for disinfecting.
- They reopened May 28, 10 days after the governor cleared them to open. Newton shared they held a retreat to retrain employees during that time as staff came back to completely different jobs.
- They take temperatures of students but don’t record them. Newton said one positive of this has been they are there to greet and welcome students back. That’s made a huge difference.
- Prior to COVID-19, MUSC’s Wellness Center wasn’t set up for any technology offerings.
- Masks are mandated in the facility at all times except when you’re working out.
Weber State University
- After shutting down mid-March, the Weber campus recreation team took a 5k race virtual in 1.5 days.
- They reopened Outdoor Rentals June 1; the recreation facility on one of Weber’s two campuses reopened on June 15. The other facility on its more commuter-heavy campus has remained closed.
- Anyone in the facility has to wear masks.
- They do temperature checks on staff, using GoogleDocs to record.
- The basketball courts are closed, and equipment was moved on them to increase spacing between the machines.
- Getting creative with outdoor offerings, day-use only trips are being offered with a “meet us there” style.
- Hourly staff are kept to a minimum and full-time staff are on rotation, each working in the office one day a week.
- Pool reservations are done using a call-in system, but they also have recently applied DoSportsEasy models to various reservations.
- The staff are working on getting Club teams back up and practicing.
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