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The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Students adapt to reopened recreation center, new safety guidelines

Texas+State+finance+sophomore+Jody+Holland+performs+an+exercise+using+a+barbell+with+weights%2C+Thursday%2C+Aug.+27%2C+2020%2C+at+the+Student+Recreation+Center.+Appointments+are+necessary+to+use+the+center+facilities%2C+and+masks+are+always+required.

Texas State finance sophomore Jody Holland performs an exercise using a barbell with weights, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, at the Student Recreation Center. Appointments are necessary to use the center facilities, and masks are always required.

Weeks after Texas State’s Student Recreation Center reopened its doors with new health protocols, students are learning how to incorporate the now limited services into their daily routines.
Following the university’s Roadmap to Return, many aspects of campus life altered the Rec Center’s day-to-day operations.
The usual unrestrained flow of students visiting the Rec Center presented it with a logistical challenge. In response, the Rec Center implemented an online reservation system in which students can reserve 45-minute time blocks at a specific station. Time blocks can be reserved up to six days in advance on the Rec Center website or phone app.
The Rec Center patrons are required to wear face coverings at all times within the facilities and maintain 6 feet of social distancing wherever possible. Dr. Christy Nolan, director of Campus Recreation, says the policies enacted have made the Rec Center a safer environment for returning Bobcats.
“We have a central table, and when you walk into the weight room, you grab your own sanitizer and towel,” Nolan said. “You take it with you as you go and then you turn it in to us, and we sanitize your sanitizer bottle and then recirculate it back out there.”
At the end of each 45-minute block, the staff disinfects each machine for the incoming block of students. Nolan says while the Rec Center is doing what it can to keep students safe, students have to do their part as well.
“We have backpack sprayers coming around afterward [to] spray everything down,” Nolan said. “At 45 minutes past the hour, we do a walk-through where staff wipes down every single piece of equipment. But the way for any of this to work and for us to remain open is we all need to be accountable.”
For the enforcement of safety policies, those not abiding by university guidelines will receive verbal warnings. Disregard for warnings or refusals to wear a face-covering can lead to a write-up and further repercussions.
When it comes to the possibility of expanding or reducing the Rec Center’s capacity, Texas State follows state guidelines when making those decisions; the Rec Center staff does not have any control over them.
In Nolan’s eyes, not all changes in the wake of COVID-19 have been negative. He says the Rec Center staff found new practices worth keeping long term.
“When we first started doing fitness classes, we got a lot of positive feedback from people [saying], ‘Thank you for doing this. I was intimidated to go into the Rec Center before, now I can do it in the privacy of my own home,’ or, ‘I’ve always wanted to come there, but it didn’t fit into my schedule,’ or, ‘I couldn’t find parking,’ so it’s helped us reach students that we weren’t reaching before, so we are certainly keeping that moving into the future,” Nolan said.
Some students approach the reopening of the Rec Center with cautious optimism and view the gradual reopening of public activities as part of a return to normality. Rayna Sehon, a political science junior, believes the Rec Center should operate at a lower capacity than the 50% with which it opened.
“I think to get back to normal, we need to do it obviously in the safest way possible,” Sehon said. “I think it should be less than what they’re allowing now; the space, though it is pretty big, I think it needs to be less than that. It’s 6 feet apart, yeah, but sometimes I’ll go, and I’ll be right next to somebody else, and it’s weird. I think it should be back down to 25%.”
Sehon is not happy with the possibility of the center’s reclosure since on-campus fees were already paid by those with at least one in-person class in compliance with the fall 2020 fee structure.
“Just like anything else, [Texas State is] an institution, [it is] a business, [it is] going to try to get [its] money as best as [it] can to keep the school up and running,” Sehon said. “I can see [closure] happening. I’d be pretty upset if they were to close two weeks after classes start.”
Some students ask for more flexibility in time slots and reservations. Jaida Rhodes, a psychology junior, says while the reopening of the Rec Center does provide her a place to exercise, its block scheduling clashes with her class schedule.
“I got out of class at 1:50, I wouldn’t have made 2:00, so I’d have to do 3:00 and that means you have to wait way longer than you usually have to,” Rhodes said. “We only get 45 minutes,” Rhodes continued. “It’s great that we’re able to use it because at my apartment [the gym is] closed, so it’s a good alternative.”
Rhodes says aside from flexibility, she believes the policies and enforcement measures are successful so far.
“More time and maybe better time slots, that’s the only thing I would have to say about it,” Rhodes said. “I think they’re doing a good job.”

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