A look inside a new COVID-19 ready ARC

Sports and gym equipment modified to accommodate for physical distancing restrictions

Equipment has been sorted into spaced-out pods
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Facilities and Operations Coordinator Zack Sephton demonstrates the staff's standard cleaning procedure post workout
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When students step into the ARC on Tuesday, they’ll be looking at a transformed building.

Athletics and Recreation (A&R) held a media tour of the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) on Sept. 4 ahead of its Sept. 8 opening date.

Almost every space in the ARC has been modified to tackle the pandemic; members can reserve pods in advance, which have been outlined with tape and distanced from one another. Members can only use the equipment within their pod. Pod equipment can range from a single treadmill to an assortment of stacked weight machines, which allow for a full-body workout.

Every pod has a tote in which members can store their limited personal belongings. Members must sanitize each tote after their workout.

Additionally, members are not to do any workouts on the floor. Instead, every pod is equipped with a mat for any stretching or exercises one might otherwise do on the ground, like push-ups or sit-ups. As with all equipment, the mat is to be sanitized after each use.

One of the formal dance studios has been turned into a stretching room. Each pod features mats, yoga balls, and light dumbbells.

To give space between stationary machines, the ellipticals now occupy the basketball courts in the third-floor gym.

The main court, where Queen’s basketball and volleyball games are traditionally held, has also been reworked with cardboard spacers to allow for individual basketball skills training.

Water fountains have been obstructed with red cups and are not available for use.

After every member’s activity period in a pod, staff will spray down equipment with a Clorox solution, the same mixture that would be used in the event of a traced COVID-19 case.

The current maximum hourly capacity is 136 people, which may expand depending on public health guidelines. Users have a 50-minute time limit and will be given 10 minutes to leave the ARC after their workout.

“If everything went fantastic, we could potentially be back to our normal numbers […] but I think on a conservative side, we could probably allow and get to something around between 250 and 300 people in [ARC North] at the same time,” Leslie Dal Cin, executive director of A&R, told The Journal.

The return of intramurals is being broken into five-week periods. The first period will focus on all outdoor and individual indoor sports.

Sports will be modified to ensure distancing measures are met. For example, rather than playing soccer with 11-person teams on a full field, it might be played 5 vs. 5 on half of a field.

The second period will focus on reintroducing indoor sports. Volleyball might be played in a three-person team format rather than six on a team. Some sports might not return due to necessity for close contact, though A&R hasn’t made any official decisions on their status.

“We’re always moving in line with what the provincial requirements are and what the public health guidelines are. Where we can modify an activity, we will. Or, we’ll replace it with another activity,” Dal Cin said.  

The University has been working closely with KFL&A Public Health to ensure the safety of students. If a positive case of COVID-19 is traced back to the ARC, A&R will notify public health and it will perform appropriate contact tracing, as they would with any other place/facility on campus.

“I do believe that our ability to operate and run programs and keep the building open is all based on everybody doing their part,” Dal Cin said. “We’re all in it together. We all have to make good decisions. We all have to rely on each other to make smart and good decisions.”

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