The Pennington Student Activity Center hosts trial runs for reopening


Gabrielle Wood/The Lion's Roar

Participants practice social distancing during the trial sessions run by the Pennington Student Activity Center. All individuals were asked to wear masks, clean after use and stay six feet apart from one another.

The Pennington Student Activity Center has begun to prepare for its reopening in the fall, hosting a series of trial runs to determine the most efficient way to keep members safe while active.

The last trial event was held on Thursday, June 4 at 11:30 a.m. with a maximum of 16 people in attendance. 

Seth Thomas, director of recreational sports and wellness, explained the process of the trial runs. 

“Tuesday was our first day to do a trial run, and we had invited members of the REC to come help us out and we had people come at different times,” explained Thomas. “About four people would come at 11:30, and then at noon, another set of people would come and do their own workouts. We really wanted to see how the staff would react with cleaning and following the guidelines that are instilled.”

With this being new territory for the REC, Thomas discussed the outcome of bringing participants in to workout. 

“It worked out great on Tuesday having to follow the guidelines set for us, and then today I have everyone coming in at one time and we’re going to walk through some scenarios,” shared Thomas. “We’re going to have people in the fitness room at first with the cardio area to see how it looks as if we were having a normal day in the fall. Then we’ll move to select equipment, free weight area, the track and after that everyone will work out on their own.”

Thomas emphasized that the activity center will be following mandated safety precautions for state gyms. 

“It’s been great because with the REC, we have always had cleaning guidelines so we always had staff in the fitness room cleaning, and so now we still have that, but we’re just amping it up to follow safety guidelines,” said Thomas. “Before the gym opens at 6 a.m. they come to disinfect everything and the staff will also fulfill those same duties and safety expectations.”

The Pennington Student Activity Center members and staff should also be taking safety measurements when using the equipment provided. 

“The REC is just making sure that we have everything clean and we also want people to know that before and after they use equipment, they should be wiping that down too to take care of their own selves and keep everyone safe too,” mentioned Thomas. 

There are no definite plans for the activity center to reopen at this moment. 

“I think these trial runs will help show us what it would look like to run swiftly so that hopefully, we can reopen soon, and then also give us a better perspective looking towards fall with students,” shared Thomas. “There will probably be a capacity limit in the fall, but we are still determining that as well.”