Bishop’s continues to adjust for incoming student population

By Michael Boriero – Local ­Journalism Initiative Reporter

Students and faculty at Bishop’s University, as well as Lennoxville residents, can still make use of the renovated John H. Price Sports and Recreation Centre on campus, albeit at a limited capacity.
According to Matt McBrine, the university’s athletics director, reopening the facility has gone relatively smooth. For the doors to reopen, McBrine said Bishop’s adopted fairly strict measures.
“So far everything has gone very well, we’ve been working very hard to make sure our space is safe for people coming into our building,” he said.
They have hand-washing stations right outside the main entrance of the building. The university also posted signage throughout the complex, indicating proper two-metre distance and hygiene best practice. They also have plexiglass at the registration desk.
The athletics director said Bishop’s is taking every precaution in order to set up a comfortable atmosphere for students returning to campus in the fall. The university is being realistic, he explained, it’s a sensitive time and there are always risks to reopening.
“Are we worried about it? Sure, we’re worried about it,” said McBrine. “We’re worried that it won’t go the way we want it to go, but I think that we’re ready to react and that’s all you can do.”
Bishop’s is like any other public building, he continued, they need to adhere to the guidelines laid out by the Quebec government. But there also needs to be a certain measure of responsibility that falls on the shoulders of the people using the facility.
The university is trusting people will abide by the new rules, especially in the weight room. Gyms were one of the last places to get the green light from the provincial government. They’re considered a high-danger zone for contracting COVID-19.
But Bishop’s took a staunch approach before reopening that portion of the recreation centre. Staff organizes the gym schedule using a computer system where people go online to book a 90-minute spot in advance.
Walk-ins are allowed, however it depends on how many people are in the weight room and what the rest of the appointment schedule looks like. They only allow 20 people in the room at a time, machines are two metres apart and they hired a full-time monitor.
“Once they log in with us, we know they’re in the system, they’re in the building and we could tell you right now if there’s 17 people in the space, who’s in there,” said McBrine. Showers and washrooms are off-limits, he added.
There is also a contingency plan for people unsure about their future at the gym. Although they haven’t received any complaints about the new procedures in order to use the weight room, the university is sympathetic for people too nervous to return.
People under contract at the fitness centre can roll their months over, ask for a reimbursement or cancel outright. Students also received a portion of their school fees back at the end of the semester since they pay for access to the sports centre.
“We’re really trying to say look ‘we understand, we want you back as a member and you tell us what’s best for you’ and we’ll try to do our best to accommodate and we’re sensitive to all of that,” McBrine said.

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