Fitness center cuts hours for fall due to COVID-19

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Photo by Peter Burleigh

Going into the new normal of campus life, the operation of the fitness center was one of the things that remained uncertain. The week starting Monday, Aug. 17 the school’s fitness center was closed after having been open for a few weeks at the end of summer. The University of Dallas website had posted the new COVID-19 policies for the gym, but there was no announcement about the expected reopening. 

On Monday Aug. 24, somewhat abruptly and with very little previous announcement, the gym was operating normally. Well, a new kind of normally. All users are now required to complete a safety orientation before using the installations, and have to sign a COVID-19 waiver the first time they check in.

 No more than 15 people can be in the fitness center at any given time, seven being the max for the weight lifting area including spotters. Everyone must walk within designated tape routes from machine to machine and must rest on the same spot between sets and all gym-goers are required to wear masks at all times except for when they’re actively working out at a given station. 

The hours of operation also look different than most years. The fitness center is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m  Saturdays and 1-11 p.m. on Sundays, with one hour closing periods every day from 10-11a.m., 3-4 p.m. and 8-9 p.m. 

Residence Coordinator Nathan Ramsey, who’s in charge of the gym hours, commented on these cleaning periods via email on Sept. 3. 

“Every 4 hours maximum, the fitness center is closed for a thorough cleaning,” Ramsey wrote. “This means, in addition to all the cleaning above, the fitness center attendant cleans all high-touch surfaces of the free-weight area and every high-touch surface of the cardio and machine area,” 

In its first two weeks of operation, the fitness center has managed to enforce the cleaning policies well. Gricelda Jasso, a student gym worker, explained his part to play and some difficulties in enforcing the COVID regulations via text on Sept. 5.

“My job is to sign people in and periodically clean machines and equipment,” said Jasso, while also explaining the difficulties of masks in the gym.  “People are working out and sweating so they feel more comfortable with putting their masks down.” 

As complicated as opening the fitness center for this semester is, its opening, though delayed, will greatly benefit student-athletes preparing for the spring season, and any UD student trying to stay in shape this semester.

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