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Margot Connell Recreation Center to Reopen at a Limited Capacity

The Margot Connell Recreation Center will reopen to a limited capacity beginning Aug. 24, in accordance with guidance from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, according to a letter sent to the BC community on Tuesday. 

Individuals will have to make reservations in order to use the center, said Associate Athletics Director of Campus Recreation Rebecca Cegledy at a webinar on Tuesday. Everyone must present a green check on the BC COVID-19 app once it is available, indicating that they reported no symptoms during their daily self-health check, and they will have their temperature taken upon entering. Individuals will be limited to one slot reservation per day.

Reservations for the beginning of the semester can be made and canceled through the BC Recreation portal, and the process will transition to an app in mid-September once it is ready, according to Cegledy.

Group fitness classes and personal training will be offered online and in person, and the climbing wall and the aquatics center will be open. Intramurals will be offered with modifications to allow for safe physical distancing. Club sports will be allowed to practice, but they will not be permitted to compete or travel.

Reservation slots will be an hour and a half long, and they will be available up to 48 hours in advance. Individuals can make a general fitness reservation to use fitness and cardio equipment. There will be separate reservation processes for group fitness, use of the aquatics center, and intramural sports participation. After each slot, employees will close the center for 30 minutes for extensive cleaning.

Students may cancel or reschedule reservations without penalty, but if they do not show up for three reservations they will be contacted to discuss their “privileges” of reserving a space, Cegledy said. 

“We’re trying to maximize the capacity of the building and by doing it this way… we can increase our number from 200 people per hour to over 300 people per hour,” she said. 

Students must wear masks when entering but can take them off in certain designated areas, including while on a piece of cardio equipment, in the pool, and while using locker room showers. Individuals should maintain six feet of distance when in general population areas within the facility and should keep 14 feet apart in activity spaces when masks aren’t worn, Cegledy said.

Equipment has been spread out throughout spaces across the gym, including the basketball courts, to allow for safe distancing, according to Cegledy.  

“Since the facility has been utilized in a couple of different ways, like we have fitness equipment out on our wood basketball courts, it is going to cut down on some of the informal recreation that we typically offer,” she said. “However, it does increase the opportunity for people to engage in our fitness centers.”

Some group classes will also be spread out in areas throughout the center, such as basketball court spaces, in order to ensure proper distancing, while others will be offered on Zoom.

The center still plans to offer outdoor adventure trips, such as stand up paddleboarding and hiking in the area. 

When wood basketball courts are not being used for fitness classes or for fitness machines, basketball will be allowed in a modified form. Basketball will be restricted to two people per basket, and masks must be worn. Two of the four wood basketball courts on the third floor will be used to space out weight equipment.

Featured Image by Kait Devir / Heights Staff

August 19, 2020