Patrick gym now requires reservations for students to use facilities, among other COVID-19 changes


Mary McLellan

The Gucciardi Fitness center, usually bustling with students, sits empty days before students arrive to campus.

Hayley Rosen, Cynic Sports Reporter

The University of Vermont athletic complex will be open for students this semester, but will now require reservations, in addition to social distancing and masks at all times. 

Campus Recreation has updated the rules for all fitness areas on campus to comply with Vermont Governor Phil Scott’s set of rules and UVM’s Green and Gold Promise. 

Some other key changes include the removal of biometrics at check in to limit physical contact and required health screenings through the CoVerified app before working out. 

“We are doing everything we can to minimize risk and minimize exposure and still allow people to get a workout because that’s important for physical and also mental wellness,” said Gregg Bates, associate athletic director and director of campus recreation.

One major change for the on-campus fitness centers is the new requirement of a reservation in order to work out to help regulate capacity requirements and in COVID-19 contact tracing. 

According to the Campus Recreation website, the maximum capacity for the Fitness Center and Upper Running Track is 55 people.

The fitness center, aquatic center, indoor track and group fitness classes will require reservations until further notice. 

If a reservation is not canceled two hours before the class start time and the “no show, no cancel” causes other pass holders to lose a spot in the class, the student’s account will be billed $10 per missed group fitness reservation, according to Campus Recreation’s website. 

“Since people need to swipe in and make reservations to work out, we will know who has been in the gym and when. [In the case of an active case being traced in the fitness center] we would leave that up to UVM and the contact tracers to determine who was exposed and who needs to get notified.” Bates said.  

Sophomore Reagan Lockhart purchased a Campus Recreation pass for the 2019-2020 school year. However, she has doubts about purchasing a pass for the coming year. 

“I trust the gym staff to sanitize and clean the major touchpoints, but it seems likely that someone would take their mask off or partially off when no one is looking,” Lockhart said. 

Bates acknowledged students who feel the way Lockhart does, and confirmed there likely will be a virtual option for fitness classes available to students in the fall 2020 semester. 

“I would participate in virtual classes if that were an option, especially for classes that don’t require a lot of equipment like yoga, pilates or Zumba,” Lockhart said.

Bates also emphasized the cleaning procedures the fitness centers will undergo under the new protocol. 

The first step of the cleaning procedure, patrons cleaning down their machines, is still in place the same as before.

“We do still expect patrons to wipe down equipment and we have a lot of new signage up as a reminder,” Bates said. “We’ve also increased our staff levels, so we have additional staff that will be cleaning the entire time that the facility is open.” 

UVM also has invested in new materials to make deep cleaning more efficient. This includes Gym Wipes, which are disposable wipes that patrons use to clean off the equipment, Bates said. 

The facility will also be closed at least once a day to do additional cleaning with electrostatic spray guns, which are machines that spray disinfectant on equipment, according to Bates. 

The gym opened for use Monday, August 31, and will have the following hours:

  • Mon-Thurs: 6 a.m.-10 p.m.
  • Fri: 8 a.m.- 10 p.m.
  • Sat: noon-8 p.m.
  • Sun: noon- 10 p.m.

An Update on Intramural Sports

Under the current guidelines, intramural sports are also still available to begin play, with some exceptions in place due to state laws and university policies regarding the novel coronavirus. 

Masks will be required for all intramural sports. 

“We will still offer some intramural sports programming, but it’s going to look different. We’re sticking to sports that are approved sports for play by the state of Vermont,” Bates said. 

As of now, sports such as outdoor soccer, badminton, wiffleball, cornhole, and spikeball are approved by the state of Vermont, whereas higher contact sports such as indoor basketball and broomball are not. 

There will also be eSports, a form of sport competition through video games, offered in the fall 2020 intramural sports lineup.