Rec and fitness facilities re-open

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Yes, we get it, you like picking up heavy things and putting them down. Big whoop. danielle cerullo via unsplash

While some are giddy to get back into their practice, others worry on accessibility and crowding

Campus recreation facilities are back open at almost full capacity after being closed or dormant during the height of the pandemic. Students now have the option of returning to some of the facilities that have been through the 2020-2021 school year.

With the re-opening of these facilities, there are rules to be followed within campus facilities. At the Fitness and Leisure Centre (FLC), mandatory masking is required at all times, something that is also required across the U of R campus. Previously, attendants were required to schedule a time within the FLC where they had to then request any piece of equipment that they wanted to use. Limited capacities, masks, and sanitation made the facility safe for students who chose to use them.

While some students opted to stay out of the gym last school year, Hannah Polk reportedly felt quite satisfied with the precautions that existed last term in the FLC. “I don’t think that it was too early. I went to the FLC when the university was online and the mandates and the protocols were incredibly safe. They only allowed about eight people in the gym at one time and you had to pre-register.” Mentioned Polk. “Everything was very distanced, and they were sanitizing between every time slot, and you had to be completely masked at all times. I felt that even if someone in the gym who was there at the same time as me had COVID-19, or if I had COVID-19, I felt that there would be no chance for transmission. That’s how strict the protocols were, and it felt very safe so I don’t think that they opened too soon. Even if people were unvaccinated, I would feel safe working out with them.” It is also reported that employees at the FLC did an excellent job at sanitizing stations after people left the facility.

While many individuals are back on campus for the fall semester, the gym has become busy with many students jumping at the opportunity to get active. Many of the restrictions have lifted from previous measures, and this has some students concerned about returning to a gym with fewer restrictions. Chloe Gill, who frequently visited the gym pre-pandemic, remains hesitant about the lack of restrictions within the gym.

“I think that considering the fact that we are in the fourth wave, they should go back to ensuring that once every hour or once every two hours or so, whatever have you, that they do close down and do a sanitization kind of thing. Just to make sure that they are thinking of the safety of the staff, students, and faculty because it is on campus and affects people in residence, people going to class, and people who might not use the gym. Also, bringing back a little bit of a number cap to make sure that it is not super congested or anything, so we are ensuring proper distancing and we are not all up on one another and potentially spreading COVID-19 virus.” Gill currently chooses to attend another gym.

Polk has noticed an increase in individuals returning to the gym this fall. While she applauds the work of vigorous sanitization, she also thinks that there should be a greater emphasis on attendants to remember to sanitize their equipment after they finish using it. “There’s less restrictions so you are not restricted to one workout station as you were before. The gym is completely open you can use all your equipment, and you are in charge of sanitizing your own station.

“The staff does sanitize frequently, but you are ultimately in charge of sanitizing your equipment you use. There’s a lot more people working out now then there was before, it is quite busy, and you do have to wait for equipment if you do want to use a certain one. A lot of the weight equipment is really busy. I do go at night, and I find that a lot of students do go at night around that seven, eight o’clock time. So, it might be less busy if you went in the early morning, but there is a fair amount of people using the gym at all times which can sometimes mean wait times if you are wanting to use the equipment at the gym.”

The aquatic centre located within the Kinesiology Heath and Sport building also re-opened, but share overloading concerns with the gym. “I like to use the pool, but I have found recently that the only open swim times there are is an hour window,” says Polk. “So there is maybe 30 people who are trying to use the one hour open swim time per day because everyone is paying for the fee, so everyone wants to use the pool in the one hour time slot which makes it really difficult to swim. I just wish that it was more accessible for the price that we are paying.”

One issue both Polk and Gill could agree upon was the athletic and student fee rate. “[I] don’t think that it is overly fair, and again, I don’t think that it fair if we aren’t using the facilities.” said Gill. “It doesn’t necessarily make sense for us students spending $100 when that money could be going to something else. But there would still be students that will pay into the facilities and use them, for those of us who choose not to. So no I don’t think it is fair,”

“I do think that student athletic fees are too expensive,” said Polk. She later added, “You pay the $70 which is a reasonably priced gym membership, but when you have to share the equipment and there is longer wait times and it is a smaller facility it does make it less worth it.”

The athletic and student fees are currently $98 per semester. Students are charged for using campus facilities whether or not they choose to, and are also charged fees if they are in a remote location away from Regina and are unable to access the facilities.

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