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On-campus fitness centers reopen for reservations

Facilities on all four campuses opened Monday on a reservation-only basis with heavy COVID-19 precautions

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Students walk towards the entrance of the Sun Devil Fitness Center on the ASU Tempe campus on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020.

The Sun Devil Fitness and Wellness facilities on all four ASU campuses reopened to students Monday after moving to virtual fitness classes in March when COVID-19 restrictions began. 

According to the gym’s website, the facilities are operating on a strict reservation-only basis. In order to enter the building, students must have completed their daily health check with no symptoms, show their reservation receipt and have their ASU ID with them.

Reservations can be made online for 50 minute sessions — one reservation per day — to use weight rooms, pool lanes, track lanes, cardio equipment and participate in socially distanced group wellness classes. Reservations are available 24 hours ahead of time and up to one minute before the reservation starts. 

Users may only use one piece of equipment for the duration of their 50 minute sessions and face masks are required at all times in the complex. Restrooms will be open, but showers are not available for use.

According to Calista Mosher, a facilities manager for the downtown fitness center and sophomore nursing major, employees will be responsible for sanitizing workout equipment after every 50 minute session, monitoring students and deep cleaning the entire facility every three hours. Students will also be required to sanitize their machines and equipment before and after use, in addition to employee sanitation.

Mosher said employees at the facilities underwent training sessions this summer on how to properly clean, as well as how to approach students who are not wearing masks. She said employees were told to go home if they aren't feeling well.

“As far as returning back in-person, I feel like the SDFW is going to be cleaner than probably most other gyms that you’re going to go to,” Mosher said.

Some group fitness classes, such as cycling and outdoor yoga, are available for reservations starting this week.

Ashley Dussault, a group fitness instructor and senior sustainability and geography double major, will hold in-person classes called "grind," "hardcore" and "bootyworks" in person at the Tempe SDFC.

Dussault said her classes used to be held in a small studio space but are moving to a basketball court where it is easier to maintain social distancing. 

She said there will be individual spaces for each student, designated by marks on the floor, each with its own set of equipment needed for the workout. Instructors are required to wipe down equipment before classes, attendees will sanitize it after classes, then instructors will sanitize equipment a final time before putting it away, Dussault said.

Although she is excited to return to in-person instruction, Dussault said because she is not allowed to walk around and assist students during workouts, she fears students will be less motivated and she'll be less aware of students in need of corrections, but she plans on encouraging high communication from participants to prevent injuries.

“A big part of the reason (instructors) walk around is because of safety,” Dussault said. “I want to make sure everyone is doing all of the moves properly and that they’re not going to hurt themselves.”

Katelyn O’Keefe, a junior kinesiology major, said she used to go to the fitness center five times a week before its closure and is eager to pick up that routine again.

“I am really excited just because, for me, the gym is really good for my physical health, but also my mental health," O’Keefe said. “It is a really good space for me to have time to myself and get my mind off of things.”

O’Keefe said while she looks forward to having access to an on-campus gym again, she also has concerns regarding the gym’s decision to reopen while COVID-19 transmission is still a risk.

“I am a little nervous because obviously with coronavirus, it is one more spot that could potentially have cases arise from it,” O’Keefe said. “I think for a lot of people, it is going to be a very different gym experience. You are a lot more restricted than how you used to be, so I think that will be hard for people to get used to at first.”

Reach the reporter at and follow @kaceywilson_ on Twitter. 

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