Taylor Gym reopens with new restrictions that will promote social distancing and safety among students. There are limited hours and time slots students must sign up for before they can use the facilities. (Courtesy of Genna Albano)

Taylor Gym reopens: what students should know

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Lehigh announced Taylor Gym has reopened to students as of Sept. 14. 

The gym will be open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Any student living on-campus or any off-campus students that did not choose to be fully remote can access the facility.

 The gym’s reopening is long-awaited by some students who chose to come to Lehigh this year. 

Lily Guggenheimer, ’23, is excited to get back in the gym, especially with colder weather coming that makes it harder to workout outside.

“I definitely feel safe using the gym with all of the protocols,” Guggenheimer said. “I think they are going to help keep a healthy and safe environment for students who can access the gym.” 

With restricted access to campus, there are not many opportunities for first-year students to get out of their dorms and truly experience Lehigh. The reopening of the gym will bring something for students to do. 

According to Lehigh Sports, students that wish to use Taylor Gym this semester must schedule a time to workout up to one day in advance. These appointments can be made through the IMLeagues app or the gym website. They are 45 minutes in length, and students can only attend one session per day. 

When the appointment is made, students must also choose between using the cardio deck or the lower strength floor. Students must stay in the section they selected for the duration of their workout.  

Genna Albano, the assistant manager for fitness and instructional programs at Taylor Gym, said currently, the maximum capacity of the gym during one time slot is 20 students total: 10 are allowed on the cardio deck and 10  can be on the lower strength floor at one time. 

There are six time slots per day and the gym is cleared out 45 minutes past the hour to be cleaned before the next group comes in. The gym has been set up to maintain social distancing while individuals are working out. 

It is encouraged that students arrive five minutes before their appointment starts and that they are fully dressed for their workout since there is no locker room access. Requirements for students that wish to use the gym include scanning their Lehigh ID, wearing a face covering, having an appointment scheduled in advance, acquiring a green QR code from the daily self-assessment check on the HawkWatch app and a temperature of less than 100 degrees upon their arrival, according to Taylor Gym’s website. 

Not only is the gym opening on limited hours, but it is also running on limited workers.   

The gym is currently short-staffed, having lost about two-thirds of students, including those that graduated or were expected to return to campus for their work studies. 

“We spent last week training all of our staff, and we’re still in the training process,” Albano said.  “The check-in process for IMLeagues is all new. We’re making sure that we get everybody in the door efficiently and then disinfected in an efficient manner to turn the facility around again for the next reservations.”

If everything goes well with the current reopening plan, Albano is hoping that the next phase of expansion would be to increase capacity to 15 people on the lower strength floor and to keep the facility open for longer hours. 

“There are very limited in-person opportunities as the COVID response team did relay that message to the Lehigh community before opening,” Albano said. “Hopefully, students will take advantage of the opportunity that we’ve created for them to come into a safe environment and have an in-person experience and to do something good for their mind and body during the day.” 

While some students are happy to have the gym back up and running, other students will not be using the gym due to inconveniences. 

Troy Rothstein, ’23, is a non-remote off-campus student this fall. Although Rothstein has access to the gym, he believes that it is ultimately too much of a hassle to be able to go to the gym for such a short time. 

“I like the direction that Lehigh is moving, but I feel that 45-minute time slots are inadequate,” Rothstein said.  “It’s also too difficult to pick a time slot the day before.”

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