fitness center reopens free to students

Donovan WilsonReporter

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of campus, this includes the fitness center, which now is free for students this semester.

On Wednesday June 17, gyms all across Connecticut started to reopen. However, per regulation, none of them operated at the same capacity that they did before and the campus fitness center is no exception to that rule.

“We are making sure to keep up with all state guidelines of social distancing” said Ish Fernando, facilities manager at the fitness center.

All equipment at the fitness center is being cleaned and properly stored every hour on top of the fact that there is only a certain amount of people allowed in the area within the hour. The staff also deep cleans all the equipment at the end of the day.

Like in the preceding years, but more so than ever, students are responsible for cleaning all of the equipment they use after they are done using it.

Unlike in previous years, for any stretching or yoga-like activities, students must bring their own matts or towels to use. The cleaning supplies available to the students have also had an upgrade as there are now alcohol wipes and a new spray more designed to kill COVID-19.

The idea of social distancing in the fitness center is new and one of the precautions put in place is the use of the app “ATLETO.”

The app allows students to reserve certain times at the fitness center within specific zones of the gym to cut down on the amount of people in one place at one time.

Halfway through the fitness center, there is a new second desk so that students can be monitored better. There are also a number of machines shutdown to encourage social distancing.

“The inability to do more recreational activities left us with enough extra money to offer the fitness center to students for free” said Jessica Scibek, head supervisor at the fitness center.

About a year ago, the fitness and recreation departments merged.

COVID-19 has made it extremely difficult to operate recreational activities so the fitness and recreation department have decided to take that money and use it to offer the fitness center to all students free. This is the only time in the fitness centers 14 years that this has happened.

Scibek said she hopes to introduce some limited recreational activities within this semester, possibly as early as next week. These activities would include certain classes where students bring their own matts or towels to places like the residence life quad or stadium stairs rather than performing these classes inside like in previous years.

“The fitness center being free is a great thing, for it gives every student on campus the opportunity to work out with no financial limitations,” said exercise science major Cassidy Girolamo, a junior.

Scibek said she is hoping these new changes will make the fitness center more accessible so “all students have a place to help their mental and physical health.

Photo credit: Roma Rositani

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