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UNL Campus Recreation Center Reopens after COVID-19 Pandemic

Campus Rec Equipment Blocked Off as it Sets to Reopen Campus Recreation Center Reopens
Campus Recreation Center Reopens (Lydia Asplin Photo)

The Campus Recreation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reopened this week after being forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

UNL granted the Campus Rec an option of reopening as early as June 1. However, Stan Campbell, Director of Campus Recreation, waited until June 15. He wanted to ensure his staff was on campus as well as put in proper safety measures. 

“The University told us that as of June 1, we could reopen. And so we said, okay, we need a couple of weeks to get our student workforce back in place,” Campbell said. “A lot of students have gone home that had planned to work here for the summer. We weren’t sure if they were available to come back.” 

The Campus Rec has implemented many safety precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as hand sanitizing stations, plexiglass to protect workers from the gym participants and workers wearing masks. Workers will also be moving around different gym equipment or taping it off altogether. 

Gym participants looking to go to the Campus Rec need a reservation for a fifty-minute time slot. Workers will then clean the area for ten minutes before they let the next gym participants in for their fifty-minute workout.

“There were some really deep clean situations,” Campbell said. “So we wanted to make sure that we had it in place and then there were some facility modifications that we had to make. So during that two week period, we were very busy and we felt okay.”

The Campus Rec is extremely committed to keeping its workers safe to prevent any of their staff members from contracting COVID-19. The staff follows a self-assessment system created by the University of Nebraska Medical Center. As well as putting the staff members into teams to limit exposure.

“They had that framed in four key areas like your self-assessment before coming to work and what that looks like. So one of the safety measures is just for our own staff to go through a personal health check before coming to work,” Amy Lanham, Senior Associate Director at Campus Recreation, said. 

Not everything in the Campus Rec is currently available. High contact sports such as basketball and soccer are still banned, but table tennis, badminton, and volleyball are permitted as of June 18th.

“So right now basketball is not allowed,” Campbell said. “Soccer is not allowed. Students can play badminton, they play table tennis, anything that’s coming close contact is not allowed.”

The Campus Rec is preparing for the fall, specifically intramurals sports. A risk matrix system allows Campus Rec to assess the risk of different sports.

“So one tool that has just been finalized today that we’re going to start using is a risk assessment questionnaire,” Lanham said. “There’s 22 questions on there about an offering that you would like to do. For example, let’s say intramural sand volleyball might be something that we want to bring back this fall.” 

The Campus Rec has not decided if every single sport will play, especially the sports that involve high-levels of contact, such as flag football, soccer, softball, and basketball. 

The Campus Rec is now open Monday through Friday from 2-10 p.m. to those with reservations.