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Rec centers reopen to public as libraries limit entrants

2020-08-14-Rec Center in Dahlonega 1
UNG recreation centers on the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses have reopened to students, faculty, staff, and community members. Both facilities have implemented changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic with the most prominent one being a limited number of people allowed inside.

Nearly five months after the University of North Georgia (UNG) recreation centers on the Dahlonega and Gainesville campuses closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, both have reopened to students, faculty, staff, and community members.

The Dahlonega Rec Center reopened with limited hours Aug. 12 and resumed normal hours Aug. 14. Patrons immediately will notice changes made to follow new health and safety guidelines.

"The most prominent change is we will limit the capacity in the facility," said Kristi Shiver, facilities coordinator of the Rec Center on the Dahlonega Campus. "We will ask people not to congregate in the social areas."

Students, faculty, staff, and community members are asked to conduct a daily symptom check before coming to campus. Cloth face coverings also will be required in the facility at all times, even while exercising.

Other changes include:

  • Tape on the floor to direct traffic through the facility.
  • Cardio equipment has been moved or turned off to follow social distancing guidelines.
  • Free weights are situated 6 feet apart.
  • Exercises must be conducted 6 feet apart.
  • Locker rooms will be deep cleaned twice a day.

Signs will request patrons to be patient as they wait to use the reduced number of machines. They also will be asked to diligently wipe down equipment after use.

"The Rec Center staff will follow behind patrons to do a deeper clean with the hospital-grade cleaning solution," Shiver said. "We have also installed a cleaning system in our HVAC unit. This filtration system has been thoroughly tested and can filter out both bacteria and viruses. We have taken every precaution to keep our patrons safe."

Ken Harrison, associate director of operations of the Hugh Mills Physical Education Complex on the Gainesville Campus, said the center will follow the same guidelines as the Dahlonega Campus Rec Center with a few campus-specific protocols.

Alterations include:

  • No guest or day passes will be issued.
  • The pool will limit swimmers to one per lane for a total of six.
  • Other modified pool activities such as water aerobics will adhere to social distancing guidelines. 
  • The fitness center will have a limit of 30 exercisers at a time.
  • Locker use will not be allowed.
  • Showers will be limited for pool use.

While both centers are open to the public, UNG's libraries are limited to students, faculty and staff. Community members and alumni will be prohibited at this time, said Joy Bolt, dean of libraries.

"The library is not like a classroom where you have a roll and can check the attendance of students," she said. "We have no way to record who has come in and out of the building and where they sat."

Spot checks will be conducted if needed as the library staff walks through the facility.

Librarians can track patron use by asking students to reserve study rooms for contact tracing purposes. Students, faculty and staff can be contacted in general via UNG network if there is exposure in the libraries. All are required to wear a mask unless in an individual study room.

Among other safety measures, printed materials checked out will be quarantined for at least four days upon their return. That procedure follows the Institute of Museum and Library Services guidelines for handling materials, Bolt said.

While the facility has been redesigned to follow social distancing guidelines, Bolt explained the library has plenty of online resources available. Online resources available to all include the Special Collections & Archives, and the Nighthawk Open Institutional Repository.

"We can help a lot of people virtually," she said. "By doing so much virtually, we are not restricted to a specific campus. We can connect with people through Microsoft Teams, Skype, Blackboard Collaborate and now Zoom."

Bolt encouraged students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members who need help to contact the library via email or chat function on the website.

For information regarding other facilities restrictions and operational changes, visit ung.edu/together.

UNG follows Section 508 Standards and WCAG 2.0 for web accessibility. If you require the content on this web page in another format, please contact the ADA Coordinator.

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