Helping Students Stay in Shape…and Safe

By Collin Frazier


With the stress of being in college, along with the prolonged presence of COVID-19, a way that students hope to alleviate their stress is by working out, and it is a good way of destressing. It allows students to take their mind off of things and allows the body to release endorphins, which make students feel good about themselves. However, some students may be cautious to go to the Koehler Fitness and Recreation Center (FRC) out of fear of contracting COVID-19. However, Director of Recreational Services Bryan Golding explained the guidelines implemented to keep students safe that still want to work out.

“Some of the new policies to work out in the FRC for this year are as follows: You must wear a mask to enter the FRC and to walk around the center,” Golding explains. “You do not have to wear a mask to workout. We are asking everyone to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before they use any equipment and to wipe down equipment before and after use.”

“All of our equipment has been spread apart six feet to follow all social distancing guidelines,” Golding said.

Some of the other policy changes that have occurred are: No equipment from the equipment room can be passed out to users—for example, basketballs, towels, ping pong paddles, etc—the locker rooms on the student rec center side are closed, all of the furniture has been stored away for no use or has been blocked off.

Along with the Cardio Center and Weight Room offered at the FRC, different kinds of workout classes are available.

“We have reduced exercise class attendance to ensure everyone is social distancing at 6 feet apart throughout each class,” Golding stated. “Exercise class instructors disinfect all equipment to be used in an exercise class before and after class.”

While people don’t have to wear a mask working out individually, Golding says they encourage people to wear a mask during classes even though COVID guidelines state you do not have to wear a mask during a class.

“If the rec staff feels a class cannot follow the guidelines set forth by the state, national and university entities we will no longer offer the class until guidelines change,” Golding said.

For any students unsure of the safety of these classes, Golding says that student safety is a top concern.

“Our number one priority is to make sure everyone using the student rec center or participating in an exercise class is safe and remains healthy,” Golding proclaimed. “We will not offer an activity or exercise class if we feel it may put someone in danger or expose them to potential contamination. We are constantly monitoring everything we do in the center and are making changes every day to ensure the safety of all users.”

Along with the fitness centers and workout classes, Intramural Sports — sand volleyball, wiffle ball, and potentially bowling — will be returning for the semester, with some guidelines put in place for student safety.

“We will follow all local, state, and national guidelines set forth for activities such as sports,” Golding commented. “Again, safety is our number one concern, and we will do whatever it takes to make sure everyone is social distancing, wearing masks when not participating in an activity, disinfecting equipment after play, etc.”

Golding says based on the first few weeks of operation, students are complying with these guidelines, which may be because they are happy to be back at the FRC.

“I want to say thank you to the students that have already used the student rec center the first three weeks of classes. With all of the changes to the student rec center because of COVID-19, they have been patient, understanding, worn their masks coming into the center, they have done a great job of cleaning their equipment before and after use, and I think the students are just happy we are open for use. It may be limited and restrictive at times, but that doesn’t seem to bother the students that have used the center so far.”

The FRC’s business hours will be Monday through Thursday 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, and Sunday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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