Students disappointed with Fitness Center operations amid COVID-19

Pros and cons exist in the current situation


Isabella Gentile

Students cannot use cardio machines directly next to each other in RWU’s Fitness Center. Certain machines are blocked off to maintain appropriate distance between gym-goers.

Kristen Dansereau, Sports Manager

With classes in full swing, students are focusing on keeping a routine, and for many that routine includes going to the gym on campus. But COVID-19 restrictions and a new process to check in to the gym have caused problems for some students.

Roger Williams University has been utilizing the app IMLeagues to allow students to reserve time slots for the Fitness Center. Scheduling time slots 48 hours in advance has been troublesome for students. The limit of 25 people per slot causes registration to fill up fast and students can miss out on desired times.

“Having to plan your schedule two days in advance and then getting on the app just to have it not work or the times being filled up almost immediately, is a real pain and major inconvenience,” said senior Zachary DeNuccio.

DeNuccio said he felt safe using the gym based on the staff’s cleaning procedures but found it hard to fit in an adequate workout with the new precautions.

“The precautions that the school is taking, such as cleaning it every hour and taking your temperature as you enter, are good precautions,” DeNuccio said. “However, only having an hour to workout makes me feel very rushed trying to squeeze everything in on time.”

Senior Taylor Aselin was dissatisfied with the new Fitness Center regulations. She was also displeased that she didn’t understand the rules regarding the app and having it open for check-in.

“I got to the gym for my designated time and I ended up having to wait in line for 15 minutes to check-in,” Aselin said.

This left her with only 45 minutes to work out.

Students are limited to the number of machines available for use, so students constantly have to change their planned workouts.

“This left me with not many options, feeling rushed and not feeling like it was worth going to the Fitness Center at all,” Aselin said. “I also felt that students were not fully cleaning off equipment or machines after using them and were not being monitored as closely as they should be, which made me feel a little uneasy.”

Rather than deal with the hassle, some students have decided to get memberships at gyms near campus.

“I bought a three month membership that will last me to the end of November, just in time for us to go on winter break,” DeNuccio said. “It’s a shame because I did enjoy just being able to walk to the gym and not have to pay, but I can’t keep missing out on workouts during the week.”

Aselin said she is thinking about running in downtown Bristol as well as doing virtual workouts in her room.

Staff members have been optimistic about the IMLeagues app and the new protocols upheld by staff to accommodate COVID-19 regulations. Assistant Athletic Director Mark Andreozzi said the app has been working extremely well.

“During this unprecedented time, it is important to start slowly and make sure that health and safety are the priority,” Andreozzi said.

The app is important to keep track of which students were in contact with each other, in case one student has a positive test result. Mike Gallagher, associate director of athletics, said some people have seen added benefits with use of the app.

“I can’t speak for the general campus community population, but I will tell you our student workers much prefer the IMLeagues system over just swiping in cards,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher said the Athletic Department plans to spread out more equipment into the racquetball courts to possibly increase the number of participants, though he said safety is the number one priority.

As for students who book spots and don’t show up for them, Athletics announced a solution to try to alleviate this problem. If students miss three reservations within a 30-day period, they will lose the ability to sign up for reservations and lose the ability to use the facility for one week.

Change is a process that takes time, including for the new app and Fitness Center protocols.

“The positives I have heard from students is they enjoy that the Fitness Center is not overcrowded by people and it is a more pleasant experience,” Andreozzi said.

Students cannot use cardio machines directly next to each other in RWU’s Fitness Center. Certain machines are blocked off to maintain appropriate distance between gym-goers. (Isabella Gentile)