Campus rec cancels intramural clubs, modifies hours amid coronavirus concerns
Update 7:42 p.m.: The UH Campus Recreation and Wellness Center announced via Twitter on Tuesday that it would temporarily suspend in-person workouts from March 18 to April 4 to keep students safe and practice social distancing for the coronavirus.
The Cougar Kendo intramural club, which meets at the UH Campus Recreation and Wellness Center every Tuesday and Thursday during the school year, met as usual for its final practice before spring break on Thursday afternoon. Unknown to any of its club members, it likely was the last practice for the foreseeable future due to the new coronavirus.
The coronavirus, also referred to as COVID-19, has changed life around the world, and the University has been no exception. The recreation center remains open, but they’ve canceled or postponed many extracurricular activities like swimming lessons, lifeguard classes and intramural clubs.
“In support of students building a strong immune system, better sleep, reducing stress and anxiety, and promoting health and well-being, the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center remains open for general use of the facility,” the recreation center said in a statement on its website.
The center is operating under modified hours until further notice. It is open to students from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. on Sundays.
Along with modified hours and the halt of clubs and intramurals, the recreation center has taken extra precautions to limit the spread of viruses and bacteria. The center has stopped students from checking out equipment like basketballs, bands and mats and have closed the rock climbing wall.
Employees at the recreation center that swipe in people that enter the facility are now wearing gloves, and the recreation center is now disinfecting “high touch points” such as doors and entrances where people touch more frequently.
“There were also more signs around the gym,” said exploratory studies freshman Jamie Hernandez. “Especially in the weights and machines to wipe before and after using (them).”
Despite the recreation center taking precautions regarding the coronavirus, some students think it would be best if the facility closed.
“For the safety of the student staff, faculty and patron, please close the rec,” one Instagram user who identified themselves as a student commented on the Recreation Center’s official page.
Hernandez said she supports the recreation center’s choice to remain open since there are no confirmed cases at the University, and she’s seen guests use mindful COVID-19 prevention behaviors when working out.
“I feel like the people that are at the gym doing weights are being very cautious and actually wiping machines before and after they use it,” Hernandez said.
As of Tuesday, no decision to close the recreation center has been made, but any updates made by campus leadership will be posted on the recreation center’s website.