Due to a shortage of work-study applicants and new COVID-19 related protocols, the hours at Taylor Gym have been reduced.
Assistant Director for Campus Athletics, Doug Strange, is in charge of the application process for work-study candidates.
Strange said the implications of various COVID-19 protocols issued by Lehigh’s COVID-19 Response Team brought a new challenge to Taylor Gym’s operations.
“It’s a layered issue,” Strange said. “We’re responsible to make sure that there is professional supervision over the operations.”
Taylor Gym has faced issues with students not complying with the university’s protocols.
The gym has closed its basketball court and dance studios until further notice due to noncompliance with COVID-19 guidelines.
“People want to come in here and exercise their rights to say, ‘I have the right to use the gym,’” Strange said. “Nobody has the right to use the gym. You have the privilege to use the gym given the rules that we have to operate under.”
Strange said another challenge is the new check-in procedure. Normally, students come and go as they please at the gym. Now, they are required to make an appointment and check-in when they arrive.
Their staff is also responsible for sanitizing touchpoints in the gym. Even though it takes more staff to run the gym this way, Strange said they are required to carry out these procedures.
These measures have led some students to seek alternative workout centers off-campus.
John Wagner, ‘23 said his last time going to Taylor Gym was last year. Before the new protocols were implemented, Wagner said he preferred going to Taylor Gym over off-campus facilities because of the convenience.
Now, Wagner prefers to workout off-campus.
“When you only have 60 minutes, that time limit is always in the back of your head, so you feel rushed,” Wagner said.
Wagner said he thinks a better solution would be to limit the number of people allowed in the gym at one time instead of having all students make appointments.
FJ Olugbodi, ‘23 said only being able to workout after making an appointment is limiting what students have the time or ability to do.
“Forcing students to make appointments is kind of ridiculous,” Olugbodi said. “Students have busy schedules and things to do, so the appointment slots add a lot of restrictions to what used to be an easy thing.”
Strange said he is aware that protocols are different at public gyms off-campus, but that does not mean those gyms are safe.
Strange said most of Taylor Gym’s staff are freshmen and sophomores. He said because the majority of the staff have never seen Taylor Gym at full capacity, they have a lot to learn about the gym’s operations.
“When you go down to the public gym, I’d really like you to just take a good, hard look and see that maybe wearing a mask to come to Taylor Gym isn’t too bad,” Strange said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to keep you safe.”
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