In preparation for fall semester, the Student Recreation Center is developing new protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
According to Dave Hollinger, assistant director of BGSU’s recreational facilities, the process began in March, albeit unexpectedly.
“From my perspective, COVID struck quickly, which did not allow for significant preparation prior to March,” he wrote via email.
In the brief time students were still utilizing the facility, the Department of Recreation and Wellness closed portions of the building to encourage social distancing, implemented cautionary signage and halted equipment check-outs in addition to other precautions.
Over the summer, as the severity of the pandemic increased, the department expanded its policies in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Ohio Department of Health, the Wood County Health Department and university officials.
“Additionally, routine virtual meetings with collegiate recreational facilities from the MAC and other regions of the country helped identify common challenges and ultimately influenced our new procedures,” Hollinger wrote.
For this semester, much of the prior implementations will remain, in addition to new alterations, which according to the Department of Recreation and Wellness website, include:
Students/faculty entering through the main entrance and signing into the facility with their ID; finger vein scanners are disabled. A secondary entrance is available for accessibility, but members will need to call the facility during arrival for access.
A safety waiver, which will need to be filled out upon first use of the facility.
A face covering, which is required at all times, except when in the water during lap swimming or taking a drink during exercise.
Disinfecting available equipment both before and after use.
To ensure the new policies are adhered to, Hollinger said the department will stress communication to its staff and the BGSU community.
“As a department, we need to proactively communicate with our constituents in as many platforms as possible … to not only relay policy, but educate on the importance of adherence,” he wrote. “Beyond communication, it is imperative for our staff to set the example and demonstrate safe practices so we can stay well together.”
Throughout the school year, the recreation center plans to retain some of its in-person programs, although offerings are still subject to change.
“Providing safe and engaging programming for students throughout the academic year is a priority,” Hollinger wrote. “Some of the planned small group in-person programs include: informal recreation, Group X classes and personal training, Learn-to-Swim, Health & Safety classes, and the climbing wall.”
Virtual programs are also in the works, including “intramural sports, Group X classes, peer education presentations, THRIVE well-being initiative, virtual Health Fair, and awareness weeks,” he wrote.
The duration of the new policy is unknown and is subject to change throughout the course of the pandemic. However, Hollinger hopes the current protocol will create a health-proactive environment at the facility.
“I hope that our phased reopening plan demonstrates that we are making every effort to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for our students to experience a variety of recreational opportunities,” he wrote. “Ultimately, if each of us does our part, we can keep the facility operational and stay well together.”
Additional information regarding the new policies, including a live count of available equipment occupancy at the building, can be found on the Department of Recreation and Wellness website.
Currently, the facility operates 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and is closed on the weekends. However, these hours are in effect until Aug. 21, so they are subject to change.