As campus prepares for the return of faculty, students and staff for the fall semester, the staff at the Recreation and Wellness Center is working to ensure a safe environment during the COVID-19 era.

Beginning this week, the RWC implemented Phase I of its reopening plan. Several outdoor recreation facilities are now open for student use — with modified hours and policies — for the first time since campus closed in March. The RWC will continue to offer programming through its RWC+ virtual platform, as well.

Later phases of the RWC’s strategic plan will allow for adjusted operation of indoor facilities in accordance with UCF’s fall reopening plans.

Scott Mauro ’94 ’19MA, marketing and communications manager at the RWC, says the staff has attended trainings to properly and safely welcome back students.

“We’re taking every precaution as we look to reopen, and everything we’re doing is to protect the health of our students and staff,” says Mauro. “I know that it’s going to take time and patience to adjust to our new way of operating, but every system we have in place is meant to optimize student, staff, and member safety. It’s important to our team to give our users that peace of mind.”

“We’ve been looking at best practices in the campus recreation field as well as adhering to university guidelines to keep everyone safe.”

Mauro also stresses that the UCF RWC does not fall into the same category as for-profit gyms already open to the public in the first two phases of Florida’s reopening plan due to UCF’s extended period of remote learning.

“We’ve been looking at best practices in the campus recreation field as well as adhering to university guidelines to keep everyone safe,” he says.

Here are some details of their current operational practices and a glimpse at what the fall will look like as the RWC finalizes details about its phased openings.

Man wearing life vest rows canoe on lake
Students can rent watercraft at Lake Claire, and all rentals will undergo cleaning once returned.
Which facilities are open?
  • William E. and Mary Jo Davis Recreation Area at Lake Claire
  • RWC Park
  • Tennis courts
  • Outdoor Adventure Center

These facilities have modified hours to accommodate cleanings, inclement weather and adjusted policies regarding equipment rentals, group gatherings, reservations, etc. Weather alerts will also be available on the RWC website to help students with planning. To learn more about these policies, visit the RWC’s webpage dedicated to COVID-19 protocols and frequently asked questions.

All other RWC facilities will remain closed during Phase I.

Phase II, which would include reopening the gym on the main campus, is under university review. Finalizing a target opening date depends on health and safety guidelines in relation to the dynamic nature of COVID-19 protocols. The RWC Knights Plaza and UCF Downtown locations are closed for the time being.

Accessing facilities and equipment

Only currently enrolled UCF students and individuals with a current RWC membership may access the facilities.

Watercraft rentals at Lake Claire are available and will be cleaned after use. However, other equipment rentals for sports such as tennis or badminton will not be offered. Students must bring their own equipment.

The RWC is also transitioning to contact-free entry and has installed barcode readers at check-in stations. Each student will be assigned a barcode, which is available through the RWC to Go mobile app. To download on your mobile device, search UCF Recreation and Wellness Center in IOS and Android app stores.

All students will be required to sign a liability and risk assumption waiver, which can be accessed through the RWC website and mobile app. The waiver is valid for one year. Students will not gain entry to facilities without signing the waiver.

In Phase II, the RWC is planning to use a reservation system for students to access the gym.

“Similar to the way you had to reserve your spot in a group exercise class before COVID-19, students will reserve a workout time to access the gym,” Mauro says. “We’re working on finalizing our capacity total, but there will be a cap for the number of people allowed in the gym at any given time.”

Cleaning practices

In order to provide the safest environment, the RWC is committed to extensive cleaning and disinfectant practices following university, CDC guidelines and industry-best standards. The RWC will use EPA-registered disinfectants proven to eliminate COVID-19 on surfaces.

Sanitizing stations will be provided at all indoor and outside facilities during operating hours as well as increasing frequency of custodial rounds to address high-touch points.

Extra disinfectant wipes for gym equipment will be available.

Face covering guidelines

In accordance with university and CDC guidelines, the RWC will require face coverings in all inside spaces and in all outdoor areas where students can’t maintain physical distance of 6 feet.

In a situation such as singles tennis, students will not be required to wear a face covering.

What will the gym look like once it is opened?

As aforementioned, Phase II, which would include reopening the gym on the main campus, is under university review. Finalizing a target opening date depends on health and safety guidelines in relation to the dynamic nature of COVID-19 protocols. The RWC Knights Plaza and UCF Downtown locations are closed for the time being.

In-person fitness classes, the climbing tower and courts for team sports will all be restricted. However, fitness classes will be offered through RWC+.

More than 30 pieces of cardio equipment have been moved to one of the basketball courts to open more space on the main floor and help adhere to physical-distancing guidelines.

RWC+

When the RWC closed its physical spaces in March, it created RWC+, an online extension of the RWC that includes a variety of programs to reduce stress by staying active. From virtual group fitness classes to esports leagues, RWC+ allows Knights to continue to connect with the UCF community from anywhere.

RWC+ is also planning to create more programs that encourage students to get outdoors whether it is fitness classes or special programs like virtual 5k training.

“I believe some form of RWC+ will be offered to students from here on out.”

Mauro says he expects RWC+ to continue, even as the department resumes more of its in-person services.

“I think we’ll continue to find a way to make use of that platform when students are away from campus, like on winter break,” he says. “I believe some form of RWC+ will be offered to students from here on out.”

Club sports/intramurals

RWC+, esports, online games and sports trivia are offered at this time.

In the fall, esports will continue to be offered, and small-group, in-person sports that allow physical distancing will be permitted, including singles badminton, cornhole, golf, tennis, etc. Team sports where physical distancing cannot be maintained will not be offered.

Where to Find Up-to-Date Information

 

For the latest information about returning to campus, visit UCF’s coronavirus and Returning to UCF websites. Students, faculty, staff and visitors will be required to complete the COVID Self-Checker — available via the UCF mobile app or online — each day before arriving to campus.