Campus Life | September 9th, 2020

Here’s How The Rec Works During the Pandemic

By: Skylar Boone
Here’s How The Rec Works During the Pandemic

Many students are ready to get back into the groove of overall fitness after a summer of quarantine. As we start the third week of classes, many are just getting back into the routine of things. FAMU’s Hansel Tookes Student Recreation Center has a lot of new rules and safety precautions to ensure a great workout while maintaining CDC social distancing guidelines.

“We need everyone’s help to keep everyone safe and healthy,” said Assistant Director of Campus Recreation George J. Heimbach. “We are hoping everyone will do their part by wiping down equipment.”

Heimbach informs that in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the recreation center is limiting participation to currently enrolled students, faculty and staff. Participants are required to make a reservation to utilize the facility.

Students who are ready to start or maintain a fitness routine can make their reservations via the new FAMU Come & Play app found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. The campus has updated from the IMLeagues app to the Come & Play platform, but students are still able to go online to the IMLeagues website to sign up as well.

Depending on availability, reservations can be made up to the session start time and there is an automatic waitlist within the app’s system. The new “Come & Play” app App allows you to cancel your reservation with just a couple of clicks. Only one session may be booked per day, per student. However, sessions may be booked 48 hours in advance. The rec wants to provide participants with the best opportunity to reserve their space and time to work out, so reservations are based on specific areas or types of exercise.

The app has brought about many questions from the students, but the rec’ is working with students to answer anything that may come up. Skylar Hillery, a sophomore student, said that she was initially confused and had questions, but Heimbach explained the app to her and clarified any confusion she had. She also said that he shared some of the rules put in place for safety.

“I appreciate how helpful the staff is in this transition,” said Hillery. “They are very patient with everyone understanding the app and guiding us in the right direction.”

In order to maintain a safe environment and prevent the spread of COVID-19, maximum occupancies were reduced in each of the exercise areas of the facility. The center is cleaned multiple times per day and staff disinfects equipment between exercise sessions and after closing the facility each night. Additional cleaning products and increased wiping stations have been placed around the building as it is recommended to wipe down equipment before working out and mandatory afterward.

“I haven’t been to the rec yet since being back on campus,” said agribusiness student Andrew Chiwara. “But I am excited about the app,” Chiwara said he is happy that the app is helping increase safety against COVID-19 and he is ready to get a good workout soon.

Students still have to use their rattler cards to get in the rec, even if they have a reservation made on the app. Rattler cards must have a clear identification photo, be valid and in service. Rental lockers, showers and general changing areas are currently unavailable. Water fountains are also temporarily closed due to COVID-19.

The inside court area is open for distance games and general activity as long as social distancing is maintained. All shirts must have a full sleeve as tank tops, cut-offs and sports bras are prohibited.

“Participants do not have to wear a mask while exercising,” said Heimbach. “However, we do require a mask in order to enter the Tookes Recreation Center and ask that participants wear their masks when transitioning between equipment, areas of the facility and in all common spaces.”