Leroy T. Walker Complex at N.C. Central University moved into phase 2 this month allowing faculty, and staff to workout at the gym again. The first phase, which was from Sept. 8 to Sept. 30, opened for only students to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Similar to the North Carolina mandate, NCCU Campus Recreation is moving the fitness center into phases.
“We wanted to make sure we were taking a conservative approach,” Piscitelli said. “We felt the health and safety of our students comes first and we ensured we did that.”
Now that the gym has moved into Phase 2 at a 15% capacity, NCCU faculty and staff who have a membership at L.T. Walker Complex can come to the gym again.
During Phase 2, the gym has extended its capacity from 15 patrons to 20 patrons since there was a small number of students who attended last month. The first day the gym reopened there were 26 patrons who registered out of forty-five according to Piscitelli.
She said that NCCU Campus Recreation will gradually increase the number of patrons to a maximum of thirty as time progresses.
Last Tuesday and Thursday, the swimming pool at L.T. Walker Complex opened for NCCU students, faculty, and staff.
Even though patrons can now go swimming, they will still have to maintain social distancing in the water.
“There is going to be restrictions in there too,” Piscitelli said.
” Lap swimming, you have to have social distancing even when your in the water. The water is a safe place to be as long as you are (maintaining) social distancing.”
All patrons are required to follow NCCU’s Campus Recreation social distancing guidelines such as modifying their workout to wear a mask.
“I think the mask in the gym will be a problem,” said sophomore nursing student Ziomara Williams.
“Because I do have asthma and with the heat and me breathing extra hard, will cause a serious medical problem. This goes for everyone with asthma or who gets hot quick.”
Students who have health conditions that restrict them from wearing a mask must inform a staff member when they go to workout.
However, NCCU encourages patrons to modify their workouts to wear masks but will not force a student to.
“That’s the one area if your working out, we’re not going to force you to wear it because you are exerting some type of energy,” Piscitelli said.
She added partner workouts such as weight lifting, which requires a spotter, is closed inside the gym and that most students have complied with not working together in groups.
Some of the equipment in the fitness center is blocked off to follow the six feet rule recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Group exercise classes, which started in Phase 1, have continued this month with some classes being held in the gym and other classes moved to online.
NCCU Campus Recreation has a cleaning routine for all of the equipment in the gym.
Twice a day, all the equipment inside the gym is cleaned with an electric sprayer which contains an Environmental Protection Agency approved disinfectant. During this time, the gym is closed for thirty minutes.
The gym is the only activity students can physically participate in on campus because of social distancing and most events by clubs and organizations have moved online.
Even though the gym is the only activity students can engage in on campus because of social distancing, some students said they were concerned about working out at the gym this semester during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I just don’t feel like I’d want to with everything going on,” said junior art student Diavione Johnson.
“The school has done decent so far with safety, but with students going in and out of the gym I worry. Even before the virus took effect, (patrons in the gym) were having problems remembering to clean the equipment after each use. I’d rather stay in my room and find stuff online to do rather than leave to wear a mask in the gym,” Johnson added.
All patrons must sign up for a time to go work out at the L.T. Walker Complex, with each time slot frame being an hour and a half long.
Since academic classes are held early in the morning inside the gym and because of the state regulations, L.T. Walker is only open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m for the Fall semester.