The Homecoming Battleship competition draws many students to the Rec Center pool. The competition involved dumping water into other teams' kayaks to try to sink them. - Contributor / Rebecca Fox

At Rowan, there have been plenty of institutions and programs that have been shut down or delayed due to the effects of COVID-19, including campus recreation.

With it being an in-person fitness center, it’s easy to see why the Recreation Center at Rowan shut down during the presumable height of this pandemic. In-person engagement, especially in a venue that would have a lot of physical activity with sweat and bacteria flying around, is heavily frowned upon.

Though the Rec Center closed to contribute to the safety of the campus, students and staff, it was a big part of the Rowan community, holding a variety of sporting events, intramural sports leagues and personal fitness activities. Moreover, it was a place for students and faculty to meet, hangout and participate in various health and well-being activities.

The center has hosted many intramural leagues and sports tournaments, including basketball, soccer, flag football and many more. But due to the effects of COVID-19, one of the more popular sports at the Rec Center, indoor basketball, will not be allowed.

“Indoor [3-on-3 and 5-on-5 basketball] will not be coming back to the Rec Center anytime soon,” Andrew Havrisko, the assistant director of intramural sports and special events at the Rec Center, said. “If we do decide to allow basketball in our second phase of integrating
activities back to the Rec Center, it would be highly supervised and very restrictive.”

Havrisko went on to say that they would only even slightly consider shoot arounds, with up to two people per hoop if they did allow indoor basketball activities.

Along with basketball being barred from play, they have yet to officially decide when they will re-open the indoor Rec Center facilities. “We’re hopeful that we could open the Rec Center back up around early October,” Havrisko said. It’s not a guarantee, but more of an estimation, as the Campus Recreation Department is still awaiting approval from university administration to open it back up.

Though the Rec Center may not be opening back up until possibly next month, Havrisko did say that they currently offer a handful of sporting and physical activities which take place outdoors.

“We are having different tournaments such as, two-versus-two soccer tennis, one-on-one pickleball, and much more other competitions, like an esports tournament, ping-pong and disc golf,” he said.

Havrisko was also very excited to introduce the new fitness and activity challenge Campus Recreation will be hosting called the “Rowan MOVES Challenge.” All students can RSVP to the six-week program on the ProfLink website. The challenge starts next Monday, and it will get students active through walking, jogging, biking or any type of physical movement across distances.

“We will have students sign up on the ‘Strava’ app, and it will track the distances they go, and from there we will see who’s gotten the most activity in, and we will be giving out fitness-based prizes like a ‘Fitbit’ or earpods,” Havrisko said.

Anybody can sign up at any time within the six weeks that the challenge will take place. The challenge is expected “to get students out and about and active around the campus, because everybody has been accustomed to virtual life, and we know they want to get out some, so we’re trying to help that in a positive way,” according to Havrisko.

The campus is currently advocating for 6 feet of distance, and wearing masks. The Rec Center will be advocating for even stricter guidelines of 8-10 feet of distance. Moving forward, they will eventually open up indoor facilities with certain precautions, such as having sign-ups in advance for individuals looking to visit the Rec Center.

Individuals who are interested in signing up are encouraged to download the Rowan Campus Rec app on the Apple Store or through Google Play.

Staff will also only allow up to a 25% capacity for the Rec Center as well, to ensure the safety of all people going around the same time. The people working at the Rec Center will also allow for 15-minute transition periods between workout sessions and waves of people attending, in order to sanitize and disinfect all of the equipment before the next group of people come in. They will also enforce mask use, as well as limited hours of operation.

Regardless of the rising numbers and the safety precautions, safety comes down to all students and staff visiting the Rec Center helping each other out, staying safe and taking care of one another. The Rec Center staff can only do so much to keep the environment safe, but it will be up to all users to maintain a safe distance, wear their masks and take precautions to maintain the safety of the Rec Center and other individuals.

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