Despite the COVID-19 pandemic extending into another school year, the Boise State Recreation Center (the Rec) is back and prepared to take on any challenges it brings.
The Rec was built in 2002 and has served as a place where students can go to escape from their school responsibilities.
Boise State’s Rec Center includes fitness classes, swimming pools, a track, various lifting stations, treadmills, stationary bicycles, basketball courts and more.
The biggest concern about the Rec this year was the availability of the building with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise and students coming back onto campus. Fortunately, the staff in charge of the Rec prepared new policies to keep facilities running while keeping students safe this year.
According to the new Rec Center Policy list, students are required to wear masks indoors and in crowded areas and are responsible for wiping down all of the equipment that they have used.
Currently, the Rec is not requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter the facility.
“We are using university protocols requiring a mask indoors and are really focusing all of our attention on ensuring that students, faculty, staff and just the Boise State community are wearing a facial covering and wearing it properly while in the Rec Center,” said Jared Cox, the Rec Center’s associate director of Programs and Communications.
Cox talked about how, despite having new policies in place, the Rec is still experiencing overcrowding, which may not sit well with some students.
Cox also mentioned that the best way to mitigate the risks of overcrowding is to make sure that students are wearing masks in large gatherings.
Rec Center staff is also aware that some students may still not feel comfortable using its facilities because of the higher risk of COVID-19 transmission indoors. In response, they plan on implementing more outdoor activities to help these students feel included.
According to Cox, the Rec is working on getting outdoor activities, such as flag football and sand volleyball, running again after being shut down last year. These activities will be put into smaller groupings and will not require masks.
“We are trying to have other activities that are outdoors to provide alternatives to coming into the Rec Center,” Cox said.
Cox said the new policies are receiving positive feedback so far, as students are acknowledging these new policies and are eager to continue to use the Rec Center.
“The Rec Center is convenient and a great place to get your workout in,” sophomore pre-business major Lauren Mackie said. “I feel like the Rec Center policies are something that we have gotten used to. Wearing a mask kind of sucks, but it is something we have to do.”
So far, Cox said that students have been cooperative with the indoor mask requirement at the Rec Center, largely because they know that not following these protocols could lead to facility closures, which university administration has warned of due to transmission spikes.
“I think their policies are really important to follow because, like everyone else, I would like to stay in person,” said freshman nursing major Tyler SteItenpohl. “I do think some are a little bit odd because you still have to wear a mask on the treadmills, which sounds terrible, but I think that this can be avoided by just running outside.”
Cox is confident that the Rec Center will be able to keep the facility safe for students, in hopes that students can return the favor by complying with their new policies and implementations.
“We are just asking the campus community to do your part and wear a mask properly. If that happens, we’re going to have a successful fall semester,” Cox said.