UREC finds sense of normalcy

Vaccinated, unvaccinated required to wear masks; filtered air brought in from outdoors



Senior Garrett Goenn sanitizes the Student Recreation Center’s front desk for the safety of in-coming students.

VICTORIA GIOMI, Evergreen reporter

All on-campus gyms are operating at full capacity with limited COVID-19 guidelines, and University Recreation is constantly changing its tactics to ensure facilities stay open this year.

“If [the state] implements something new, obviously we will comply with it,” UREC Facilities Director Jeff Elbracht said, “but as of right now, really the things that we’re dealing with are the compliance mask mandates, and of course, the vaccination requirements.”

The Student Recreation Center, Chinook Student Center and Stephenson Fitness Center have not implemented any major changes because of COVID-19 except reintroducing the prior mask mandate for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, Elbracht said.

“We prefer people bring their own masks,” he said. “We’ve been going through several hundred portable disposable masks a week, but we do make them available if anyone for some reason doesn’t have one.”

Cleaning procedures have remained the same, Elbracht said. Gym-goers are asked to sanitize after using equipment and a sanitizing crew cleans throughout the day and after closing.

The SRC and Chinook Student Center are also bringing in purified air from outside to ventilate all facilities, he said.

“We upgraded our filters so our air filtration is the highest you’ll find on campus,” he said. “We are running close to 100 percent outside air … that’s kind of the biggest thing we feel like we can do to kind of minimize the spread of COVID.”

Elbracht said SRC’s daily use has not declined in terms of independent workouts and group classes. 

“In the case of the rec center, we’re seeing probably somewhere between 2,500 [vistors] on an average day,” he said. “A couple days, we’ve been over 3,000 this semester. At the Chinook, we’re probably seeing on most days, somewhere between 1,800 to 2,300.”

As of now, group classes are at full capacity and social distancing is recommended for all people attending, said Maddy Vigus, UREC user and junior marketing major.

“I [got] both shots and I wear a mask anyways, so it’s like the analogy of like Swiss cheese,” Vigus said. “When you stack slices of cheese together it covers more holes.”

The UREC swimming pool is the only place where masks are not required, Elbracht said. The high chlorination levels of the pool area keep it lower risk than most parts of the gym.

All parts of the gym are open and operating at full capacity. He said there is a possibility the SRC will operate at a limited capacity soon as it is considered as a vaccination site for COVID-19 booster shots in the upcoming months.

“It’s certainly possible that we may see something, you know, maybe early spring where we look [at hosting] a mass vaccination clinic for a booster shot,” Elbracht said.

To learn more about on-campus fitness centers, check out UREC’s website