After closing down in response to COVID-19 on March 23, Nebraska’s Campus Recreation centers will reopen June 15 with a host of added safety precautions.
The reopening comes after months of planning and consulting with resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, University of Nebraska Medical Center Higher Education Recovery Checklist and American College Health Association Consideration for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to maintain a safe and healthy environment for our members,” said Amy Lanham, senior associate director of Campus Recreation. “Our returning members will notice many changes in our operations, but they’ll still be able to enjoy the facilities largely the same way they did before.”
Upon entering the facilities, members will self-scan their NCard as opposed to handing it to a staff member. Plexiglass shields have been installed at the entrances, and hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout the buildings.
Inside the centers, all Campus Rec staff will be required to wear a mask. Members are encouraged to do so when entering and exiting the facilities, but are not required to wear one while exercising as long as they adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
Campus Rec has also taken several steps to ensure that members stay a safe distance away from each other while working out.
“In order to provide the appropriate amount of physical distance between individuals, every other machine has been placed out of service rather than removing the equipment from the floor,” Lanham said. “For some of our plate-loaded equipment, members will be asked to use every other piece of equipment if someone is present on an adjacent machine.”
To accommodate for that limited amount of equipment, the Strength Training and Conditioning Room at the Campus Recreation Center, as well as the first-floor strength area of the Recreation and Wellness Center on East Campus, will have capacity limits. Members can reserve a time slot online. The reservations begin at the top of the hour and last for 50 minutes. Staff will then clean the areas during the 10-minute break between members.
A common concern with COVID-19 is the spread of the virus via indoor air circulation. To address this, Campus Rec had its HVAC systems evaluated and is increasing air filtration and maintaining temperatures and humidity level recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine.
Several amenities — including towel service, showers, saunas and City Campus’ swimming pool and indoor climbing wall — are closed until further notice. There are additional limitations on equipment rental, running on indoor tracks and group sports. Facility hours will also be reduced in the initial reopening phase.
Despite those changes, Lanham is excited to welcome members back and continue serving the campus community.
“Over the rest of the summer and into the fall, we’ll remain vigilant about evaluating the situation from a public health standpoint,” Lanham said. “It’s my hope that we can continue expanding our services and return to somewhat of a new normal come fall.”