Pohl recreation center reopens with new health-conscious guidelines

Rec Center Open

Article Originally Published by Makayla Herron on North Texas Daily

The Pohl Recreation Center reopened Wednesday morning with new social-distancing guidelines such as reminders to remain six feet apart and a reduced number of individuals allowed inside, according to an announcement on its website. 

“We have always been committed to the health and safety of our Rec Center community, and that commitment remained our top priority as we developed new safety standards and guidelines to be implemented throughout the facility upon reopening,” Director of Recreational Sports Laurie Klein said in the announcement. “As confident as we are that these new processes will help ensure the well-being of our members and staff, we also know they will inevitably change as we receive updates from state and local officials. We will continue to evaluate and modify our standards in order to proudly keep our commitment to the health and safety of both the Rec Center and University community.”

The decision to reopen came after Governor Greg Abbott allowed the reopening of gyms and exercise facilities May 18.

“Once the state established guidelines for safe reopenings of gyms, we felt like it was important for us to open the rec center,” Klein said.

Klein said they moved equipment to allow more space between students and put markers on the ground to advise social distancing. They also added cleaning stations throughout the building for sanitizing equipment.

“I expect student compliance to fall in line with how strict the rest of the university is enforcing social distancing measures,” Graduate Assistant for Outdoor Sports Meg Van De Walle said. “If wearing masks and social distancing is commonplace, I feel the habit will be well-practiced in each student.”

With the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Denton County surpassing 2,000, political science freshman Daniel Garcia said he is worried the university is opening the recreation center too soon.

“Gyms are home to an abundance of germs, and even with a majority of people doing their part in wiping [or] disinfecting the equipment after they’re done using it, it only takes a little to have everyone infected within a small area,” Garcia said.

The rec center will continue to offer virtual group exercise classes like Zumba, yoga and high-intensity interval training. The center posts a weekly workout plan and schedule with corresponding links on their website.

“I think it’s a great idea that the university is offering them because it allows social distancing to be in place and will allow students to be able to exercise without having to go out in person [but] you are limited to what you can do virtually,” journalism and psychology freshman Lindsey Wilkes said.

Klein said she heard from students, faculty and staff with requests to reopen the facility, despite the recent increase in cases.

“I think we have made significant modifications to our operations that will make everyone comfortable working out at the Rec Center,” Klein said. “I think students will embrace the gym with an appreciation that we are open and an understanding that in order to stay open they need to follow the safety guidelines in place.”

Despite the changes in the Recreation Center, the announcement gave assurance to members

“It might be a bit overwhelming at first,” Klein said in the announcement.  “Things will look different and the typical routines we’ve been used to will need to be adjusted. But trust us: as soon as you walk through our doors you’ll find yourself in that familiar place we all know and love. The Rec Center you’ve been missing will be ready and waiting for you – now even safer — and we can’t wait to welcome you back.”

Featured image: The Pohl Recreation Center has been closed since the university closed in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The center is scheduled to open with new safety guidelines to abide by the social distancing precautions. Image by Enzo Favarato

Source: North Texas Daily