Wellness Center adopts COVID-19 safety measures

By: BreAnna Hall

The Wellness Center at The University of Central Oklahoma announced its own guidelines for reopening alongside the university’s overall plan.

These changes may affect some students’ fitness routines.

A mask policy has been implemented for the health and safety of students. Masks will be required in classrooms across campus, as well as, in the gym.

The Wellness Center is also requiring students that are participating in group fitness classes to wear a mask. Not only will students see a shift in the appropriate attire for the Wellness Center, but the layout and entry of the facilities have changed.

“A lot of the upstairs equipment has been moved downstairs to the east gymnasium to allow for social distancing. This is the most noticeable change,” said Assistant Vice President of Wellness and Sport, Katrina Shaklee. “All machines are spaced at least six feet apart. In addition to this, temperatures are taken before entry into the facility is allowed.”

New hours have also been implemented for the Wellness Center to accommodate sanitization.

The Wellness Center is also adding to its virtual classes for this fall. These classes are free for anyone to connect and join via Zoom.

“We Zoom a lot of classes so you can do it with whatever you have at home or your body weight at home,” said Johnny Watley, Wellness Center Fitness Manager.

Watley said when focusing on heart health students should do about 30- 45 minutes per day at 70% of heart rate max. As for strength training it should be three times a week with ten different drills on three sets at 60-75% of your body weight. Stretching is also an important part before and after workouts.

Watley added that wearing a mask is an important aspect of responsible gym patronage.

“That is one of the biggest pieces we have found in the gym. Of course it is an airflow issue, but we have balanced that against being safe and being able to safely workout on the campus,” Watley said. “We know that the science says this disease is spread through saliva. So, we have to make sure we are safe. And proper technique for wearing a mask is above your nose and below your chin. And so, that’s important as we work through that process.”

The UCO Wellness Center temporary operational procedure website outlines outdoor sports as a feasible means of exercise safely amid COVID-19. By appointment only, students can enjoy outdoor activities while still maintaining the necessary precautions.

In an interview Monday, Watley reiterated the need to wear a mask at the Wellness Center, adding that it is also campus policy and that instructors and patrons will both have to wear them.

According to Watley, the phrase “physical distancing” has replaced “social distancing” since that term may mean different things to different people.

The Wellness Center is currently open and holding group Zoom fitness classes.

Watley said Monday that a fall fitness class schedule will be released around Aug. 19.

Fall group exercises will begin on Aug. 24, and in-person classes will resume this fall in Room 134, which is limited to 10 people, according to Watley.

Watley said a weekly group exercise session will begin at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at Plunkett Park, and boot camp classes will be held in the Wellness Center yard beginning Sept. 8.

 More information concerning the UCO Department of Wellness and Sport, is available on the university website.

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