Fitness Center reopens with new changes and time slots in high demand

As students started returning to campus last week, Roger Williams University began utilizing its sign-up system for the Fitness Center.

Guidelines for the university and the state of Rhode Island determine the spacing and capacity for the Fitness Center. Currently, each one hour time slot allows a maximum of 25 people to sign up, but this number could change in the future if capacity limits fluctuate.

Time slots are in high demand throughout the student body. Students are able to book one hour time slots up to 48 hours in advance. A policy is being developed for students who reserve a time slot but do not show up for it.

“We have been up and running since Aug. 18 and it has been going well,” said Mark Andreozzi, assistant athletic director for club sports and fitness. “We are in an unprecedented time right now, so there is a lot of uncertainty. There are bound to be issues or problems that arise, but it is up to everyone involved to work together to keep the Fitness Center safe and clean.”

The Athletic Department has taken many steps to ensure students’ safety. Upon arrival, temperatures will be taken after students show their ID’s to confirm their reservations. In between the one hour workout slots, the center will shut down to clean for 30 minutes.

Masks must be worn inside the Fitness Center at all times. Students who don’t wear their masks will be asked to put them on. While it can be difficult to wear a mask while working out, it is one of the steps required to keep students and staff safe.

Other changes this semester due to COVID-19 include the requirement of students to bring their own equipment, such as yoga mats, medicine balls and foam rollers.

“Patrons are to use one piece of equipment at a time i.e., no circuits or ‘super setting,’” Andreozzi said. “It is the responsibility of the users to make sure they are wiping equipment before and after each use. However, the 30-minute cleaning is working well. Our staff is working hard to clean everything thoroughly in that time frame.”

Locker rooms are only to be used as restrooms and can no longer be available for showering or daily use. Students must also bring their own water as the water fountain is shut off except for the bottle filling stations.

“During the break, the staff is using our mister machine to clean all upholstery,” Andreozzi said. “We also clean all the dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells, which are high touch areas in the Fitness Center.”

Varsity sports teams are allowed to use the Fitness Center during its off-hours under supervision, while following the same guidelines for cleaning and capacity.

Fall and spring varsity teams are allowed to begin practicing on Sept. 7 and winter varsity sports will begin on Oct. 1 while following the NCAA re-socialization guidelines, according to Associate Director of Athletics Mike Gallagher. There is a maximum of four practice days per week, with a total of 114 for the academic year. Practices cannot be longer than two hours.

Gallagher said the university is about to roll out intramural registration, starting with beach volleyball and softball. He said soccer and 3×3 basketball outside will come two weeks later, with more leagues forthcoming.

“We continue to work with all our student athletes, those who use the Fitness Center or any recreational facility, to be part of the solution, not the problem,” Gallagher said.