Staying fit while staying safe

Quinnipiac’s fitness centers plan to reopen by following COVID-19 guidelines

Jessica Simms, Managing Editor

While the fall 2020 semester is going to be an adjustment for all, Quinnipiac University’s fitness centers and classes are planning to be up and running by Sept. 7, to help bring some normalcy to students’ lives. Changes are being made to Quinnipiac’s fitness centers and classes to help keep students safe while they are working out. 

On the Mount Carmel campus, the cardio equipment is being moved from being up in the corners of the newly resurfaced hanging track to the courts on the first floor. 

“The reason for that is social distancing,” said John Somers, coordinator of campus life for recreation. “If they stayed in the corners, we wouldn’t have been able to use every piece of equipment, but the way we have our plan laid out now we will be able to use all 35 pieces of equipment down on the courts.”

Currently, this means that the fitness center is eliminating open recreation time on the courts for the semester in order to maintain social distancing.  

“As of right now, we are not planning to have any real type of open rec,” Somers said. “That’s kind of in accordance with some state of Connecticut guidance that it just doesn’t make sense. Very difficult to socially distance while you’re shooting hoops.”

Along with that change, the fitness centers have received a shipment of 144,000 individual gym wipes and some wall dispensers so students can easily wipe down equipment. All fitness centers on the campuses will be enforcing a strict 50% capacity limit and are  implementing a new reservation system to help with it.   

“We’re also going to implement a reservation system during peak hours much like you’ve probably seen at any other local gyms you go to,” Somers said. “… We haven’t finalized when we are going to be doing reservations, but when we’re not doing reservations, we will still be enforcing strict capacity limits of 50% of our normal capacity.”

Fitness classes are going to be following Quinnipiac’s Q-Flex Model to give students the options of taking in-person or online classes. 

For students that choose to go to an in-person class, signing up is essential for tracking and communication reasons. Students must use IMLeagues. If a student is not registered on there, they must register with their Quinnipiac email.

“What’s going to be imperative is that my student instructors are making sure that every student that comes in is signed up, they have a spot and then if there’s still room, that we’re signing them in,” said Tami Reilly, director of fitness and well being. “That’s just protocol with tracking, making sure we know who’s in classes.”

Sharing of the fitness equipment in classes is going to be minimal. Ugi balls will be provided because of the larger size, making it easier to watch students clean this piece of equipment properly. It is recommended for students to bring their own fitness equipment if they would like to get a little more out of their workout. Reilly has posted a list of recommended equipment on the fitness and recreation MyQ site. She is also providing equipment for her student instructors to help them properly teach their classes. 

“I’ve been working on building little kits for the instructors, so yoga instructors will have two blocks and a strap that are theirs that they can use to demo with and anybody who wants to bring their own will then know how to use it,” Reilly said. 

Any class that is streamed on Zoom is also recorded and is a part of the Campus Well on-demand library that has been created since the spring. 

“If it’s like 5 a.m. and you can’t sleep and you want to do a boot camp class, you can go to our on demand,” Reilly said. “You can do it whenever you want. We already have a collection in there and that’s through the Campus Well newsletter that goes out every week … There’s probably about 70 classes already in there. As we move forward, we will be building this library during the semester that will keep increasing, so lots of options.”

As this semester is going to be a learning experience for all, Reilly and Somers stress the importance of students having patience and flexibility as these new changes will be an adjustment. 

“Things change day by day not because we want them to, but because of what’s happening,” Reilly said. “It’s going to take a little bit for us all to work out the kinks … Working out, they’re not going to pick up where they left off in March, so they have to be patient with themselves in their own workout, but also with us as we figure out some things and have some growing pains.” 

Somers said it is a team effort to keep the fitness facilities open and safe.

“It’s a shared responsibility for everybody, so if everybody is able to follow the rules, wearing the mask, socially distance,” Somers said. “A lot (of) policies , especially at opening the fitness centers, are based in trusting the students to do the right thing and so if students are able to do the right thing, I think everything will go smoothly and they won’t see that much of a difference in how they’re able to work out and how they are able to stay active on campus.”

By reopening, both Somers and Reilly hope that the fitness centers and classes give students a way to escape from the stress of college life. 

“I know a lot of people need the fitness center and the gym and fitness classes as kind of an escape from academics and their room and everything else that’s going on in life,” Somers said. “Hopefully that they can still do that while wearing a mask and staying a little bit further away from people then they might be used to.”