Fitness, recreation to be restricted on campus

The Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center is pictured on Aug. 28. Ann Marie Burke / The Tufts Daily

In the midst of the Tufts COVID-19 reopening plan, the university has placed restrictions and regulations on many facilities on campus. Included among these restrictions are the athletic facilities and fields, where social distancing protocols will be placed in order to curb the traffic flow and limit the number of students and faculty that seek to use these mutual spaces. The gym will be open only to students and faculty that have opted for “in-person” or engaged in the COVID-19 testing protocol, but the process for using the gym will be different during the fall. There will be a limit on the number of students allowed to use the gym at the same time along with other physical distancing arrangements.

Similar to dining reservations made at Dewick-MacPhie and Carmichael dining centers, there will also be a reservation process in order to access the gym. Additionally, there will be a time limit of approximately 40 minutes that will be placed on students and faculty reserving spaces in the gym. These reservations can be made a week in advance to schedule use of specific equipment in the gym including “treadmills, upright and recumbent bikes, ellipticals, arc trainers, stretch/ab mats, one stair master, dual pulley cable machine, hammer racks and bench” while other equipment such as “dumbbells, rollers, ropes, bands, and belts” will be unavailable for use. Equipment will be spaced farther apart, and other areas of the gym will be closed off entirely. The gap in reservation times will allow for proper disinfection protocols in between use, and the Tufts custodial staff will also circulate the facility to disinfect the spaces several times during the day. Like all other areas on campus, masks will be required to use the facility, and those using the equipment will be asked to sanitize after use. Water fountains will be closed off and people using the facility are encouraged to bring their own water. The fall campus guide released during the summer states that the gym will now have signs and floor markings that will aid in directing people within the facility. 

Other areas of the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center such as the Gantcher Center, Cousens Gymnasium, Chase Intramural Gymnasium and the Squash Center will not be open for general use. The tentative hours of operation and guidelines regarding fitness center use can be accessed on the facilities page on the website. Outdoor fields and recreation spaces will also be available for student use with proper safety precautions. Currently, the Ellis Oval outdoor track, Vouté tennis courts and Triangle Park are among the recreational spaces open to use if following physical distancing and other local guidelines.

“We are planning to open the Tisch Sports and Fitness Center this fall using a new reservation system and following all state and University issued guidelines,” Assistant Athletic Director Matt Malone wrote in an email to the Daily. “We will be updating the facilities’ page on this week with additional information on how the fitness center will operate, as well as the reservation system and the extra precautions that have been put in place.”

Varsity sports, club sports and intramural sports have all been suspended for the fall semester. However, the athletics department and the Office for Campus Life are creating non-contact and esport programs for students to participate in during the semester. Additional resources are located on the “COVID-19 Fitness & Wellness Resources” page on the athletics website, where students can find at-home fitness videos made by Tufts strength and conditioning coaches and the Tufts sports medicine staff along with other free fitness resources.

Reservations are currently closed but will open to schedule in the coming weeks. According to general information listed on the athletics website, the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness center is expected to open on Sept. 15.