Gym requires masks due to COVID-19 cases

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Photo by Hannah Green

It’s been a week and a half since the Maher Athletic Center updated its mask policy for students using the fitness center and the basketball court. Mask wearing while exercising is now mandatory. Additionally, pick-up games in the gym are being shortened to half-court. 

The policy was adjusted in the midst of two new COVID-19 cases within the university community, both off-campus residents who tested positive on Sept. 14 and Sept. 18, respectively.  

The updated rules have been received largely in a positive light by the students using the Maher Athletic Center facilities.

From a student-athlete perspective, the policy is definitely one worth following.

Jai Love, a junior business major, is a frequent user of both the fitness center and the basketball gym. A member of the basketball team, Love participates in the pickup games that occur during open gym hours and works out with his team as they prepare for the approaching season. 

He was very candid when asked about the new mask policy. Even though wearing the masks can definitely be annoying in the heat of exercise, everyone who plays goes along with it, especially the basketball team. 

“We understand that other schools aren’t even able to play at this time, so we’re lucky to be given the opportunity to play,” said Love. 

The SCAC Statement on Fall Sports officially ended all official athletic events on July 22, eliminating both “traditional and non-traditional seasons for all sports in 2020-21.”

As of right now, however, the basketball season is still scheduled to start soon, with practices beginning next week. From Love’s perspective, the players are completely invested in following any rules that allow them to play. 

“[We] will do whatever has to be done to make sure we’re able to continue playing,” said Love. 

Monica Heckman, lead athletic trainer, attested to the smoothness of the change, and to its necessity. She reaffirmed that the policy was necessary for the continuation of the gym and trainer’s office remaining open. 

“The masking/social distancing policies keep [the trainers] and our student-athletes safe,” she said.

Heckman, in addition to heading the trainer’s office, was a part of the SCAC Scheduling Task Force that met over the summer to plan out how best to implement COVID-safe policies on campus while continuing to maximize student-athlete participation. 

She joins the long list of people who commit their time and energy to try to make sure the proper policies are in place so that the university is able to function safely and efficiently.

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