Rec Center makes policy changes to keep Eagle Nation safe


Gracie Wilson

All Rec Center users must present the COVID-19 self assessment badge from the Campus Shield app upon entering the building.


As students make their return to Ashland University this fall, they can expect to see changes made to combat the spread of coronavirus and the Rec Center is no exception as they take steps to make sure they are keeping their facility safe and sanitary.

 “The Rec Center is going to look a lot different than when [students] left here in March,” Janel Molnar, Director of Recreational Services at AU said. “We still have the same weight equipment, circuit equipment [and] cardio equipment but it’s just in different locations so that we’re providing for space between users.”

The Rec Center has made sure to accommodate students in a way that allows them to use the facility as much as they can while still providing for physical distancing guidelines and proper sanitization.

In order to comply with these new guidelines, some areas of the Rec Center are closed. These areas include the golf simulator, billiard tables, sauna, hot tub and climbing wall as well as the racquetball and volleyball courts.

While these changes will be seen by students and Rec Center users once they are inside, changes can also be noticed as soon as they walk in the door.

“We changed how our card swipe is for customer service,” Molnar said. “The member will swipe the card themself, then they will show their card to customer service to verify.

The Campus Shield app that students were instructed to download will also be an important factor for students using the Rec Center. All users will need to show the customer service desk that they have the green badge on the app upon entry.

Perhaps the most important part of the updated entry policies for the Rec Center is the requirement for students to wear a mask at all times.

“Students will need to have a face mask on…when they enter and it has to be kept on the entire time they are in [the Rec Center] including if they are using weight equipment or cardio equipment,” Molnar said.

There is only one exception to the mask policy and that is for pool users, as “the mask should be worn onto the pool deck, removed to swim and put back on when getting out of the water,” Molnar said.

The Rec Center staff has noted that their mask policy will be strictly enforced throughout their facility.

“If someone is not wearing their mask, we’re going to ask them to leave. The mask that someone is wearing is protecting other people, so we don’t want to put anyone else at risk because of someone who is not wearing their mask,” Molnar said.

Along with updated guidelines in place to keep Rec Center users safe, the cleaning procedures within the facility have also been updated. These procedures include cleaning all of the surfaces that are being used twice a day and then cleaning of all high touch surfaces every two hours Molnar said.

“We have always done a good job with our cleaning; however, it is stepped up,” Molnar said. Part of the stepped-up cleaning procedures also includes the use of electrostatic sprayers to be used after hours for cleaning the workout equipment.

Part of the responsibility of keeping campus safe will rest on the student users of the Rec Center also. If someone uses a piece of equipment, they are asked to clean it with the provided cleaning spray before and after use.

Students will still be able to utilize the Rec Center for more than just their health and fitness needs.

“We still have seating that is within the facility as we did before but on a more limited basis,” Molnar said. “It’s still a place if someone wants to come do their homework or if they want to be here to do their virtual classes, there are still some leather chairs and high-top tables.”

Users of the Rec Center can also expect to see less community traffic in the building this semester as the facility is limited to use by Ashland University only.

“We are not allowing guests this year,” Molnar said. “In the past we had guest passes…but we are keeping it to our Ashland University community. It’s just for our students, faculty, staff and their spouses.”

Along with all of the updated changes and procedures inside the building, the Rec Center staff have also been putting programs in motion for students to use who may not be comfortable coming back or for students who attend AU virtually.

There is a website available to AU students called that has over 100 universities that… upload their group exercise classes. All classes are free of charge.

“So, you could take part in a group exercise class from across the country,” Molnar said.

Since face-to-face Group X classes at AU are suspended for now, students now have a way to tune in virtually from anywhere.

“We’re really trying to think about creative offerings that we can do for students whether it is in person or if it’s virtual,” Molnar said. “Whatever it may be, we want to continue to keep students connected, continue to keep them moving; whether it’s within the facility or outside on their own.”

While these changes to the Rec Center will feel different for this fall, it does not mean that this is how it will always be.

“If things ease up, then more areas will be open,” Molnar said. “Although this is how we are starting fall semester, it does not mean it’s how we are ending fall semester.”

Updated hours for the fall semester are Monday-Friday 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. with Tuffy’s smoothie Bar and the Rec Center academic wing remaining open during the mid-day closure Monday-Friday.