Fitness Center to reopen for fall semester

New precautions in place to prevent coronavirus spread

Kristen Dansereau, Sports Manager

The Roger Williams University Fitness Center has been closed to students and staff since March when campus shut down due to COVID-19.

Michael Gallagher, associate director of athletics, provided insight on future student use of facilities and the proposed limitations and requirements for the fall.

“We are all working hard to provide the campus community with the safest atmosphere possible. With stress levels on the rise, it is extremely important that we provide an avenue for the campus community to safely enjoy a wide range of recreational activities,” Gallagher said. “We will need students help in following all our new safety protocols.”

The proposed Fitness Center hours are Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

8 UV lights were installed in the Fitness Center to help disinfect the air, with 5 downstairs and 3 upstairs. Hospital grade filters have also been installed across campus. The school also made improvements to the HVAC system to maximize air circulation in its facilities.

Students will be required to wear a mask in the gym, as is required by the state of Rhode Island, and should clean the equipment before and after use. Machines will be spread out 6 feet apart with some taken offline.

“Those interested in working out will have to preregister using Hawk Link. We are in the process of building that out. Time blocks will be one hour. The Fitness Center will then be emptied out, followed by 30 minute cleaning before the next hour time block. Cleaning will also take place during the open hour block,” Gallagher said.

The center’s new maximum capacity is still being finalized for registration of time slots. No walk ups will be allowed.

“We will also be installing facial recognition software that will be able to identify campus community members, even while wearing a mask, by looking into an iPad which more importantly will be able to identify if you have a temperature within two to three seconds,” Gallagher said.

Recently, Recreational Services and Facilities allowed a small basketball camp and youth swim program to utilize the gym, field house and pool in RWU’s Recreation Center. Gallagher said each group had to submit detailed safety plans that needed approval from Vice President for Student Life John King. He said the basketball camp was coordinated through the Conference Office.

The fall sports season has been postponed until the spring, but athletes are still allowed to practice. If a varsity team is utilizing the gym, it will be closed to other students.

The Athletics Department plans to host intramural sports programs but under different regulations as well. Team sizes will be restricted and each member will be registered on IMLeagues to track the players.

“Teams schedules will be pool play, so they would actually play the same teams a couple of times before moving onto the next pod. There could also be short single games but actually play multiple contests on the same nights,” Gallagher said. “We will schedule the same workers for each pod as well.”