A student does a pull-up exercise at Shepherd University's Wellness Center. Picket Staff photo by Kateri Kingfield

Wellness Center is Fully Open

The Shepherd University Wellness Center recently changed certain policies surrounding Covid-19. The Wellness Center was closed for a short period to the public as well as students. Even after their reopening, certain policies were set in place to reduce the spread of the virus. But the Wellness Center is now back in full swing.

A Shepherd University student works the cable biceps machine at the Wellness Center.
Picket staff photo by Kateri Kingfield

The most recent and biggest step forward back to normal life is the change in mask policies. In late 2021, the policy changed from masks being required at all times to only being required while actively exercising. Individuals are more than welcome to where a mask if they feel more comfortable, but they are now optional. The only time they are required is in the lobby and locker rooms.

This means that the Wellness Center is nearly back to the way it was prior to Covid. Everything is the same except for masks being required in certain areas. I spoke to Katherine Gillis, a Wellness Center employee who said, “The Wellness Center is now fully open to students, members, and guests. Our biggest change in our Covid policies is that masks are no longer required while actively exercising. The locker rooms and pool are also available for use.”

The Wellness Center first closed in March of 2020. They had planned to stay open but decided to close due to the increase in Covid cases in the area. The center remained closed until May 26, 2020 and put many policies in place after its reopening to keep members safe.

An SU student uses the pectoral fly machine at the Wellness Center.
Picket Staff photo by Kateri Kingfield

The policies at the time set limitations on certain amenities and capacity. The capacity was set to 40 members inside the building at a time. They decided to keep the pool, locker rooms, track, courts closed. Temperature checks and hand sanitization were also required during this time.

The Wellness Center remained open for the summer of 2020 and part way through fall. It then closed again in late 2020. This was mainly during the holiday season.

The gym reopened for the last time in early 2021. They reopened the Wellness Center to students and members but required reservations to exercise. At the time this must have been frustrating for those wanting to use the gym any time of the day. But Shepherd University wanted to keep students and members as safe as possible at the time.

During this time, masks were required at all times even while exercising. The locker rooms and pool remained closed. This was to reduce the spread of Covid. Social distancing was also set into place at the time as well as restrictions of traffic flow.

An SU student does arm strength exercises at the Wellness Center.
Picket Staff photo by Kateri Kingfield

The Wellness Center reopened to the public in August 2021. This means that reservations were no longer required to exercise. Mask policies were later updated.

Covid has not only caused businesses to temporarily close but has also created financial problems. When Covid caused a lot of gyms to close down, members of some gyms still had to pay for their membership. At the Wellness Center, memberships were frozen until the gym was reopened. This is helpful for members because they do not have to worry about paying for a membership they cannot use.

The gym is a great way to relieve stress and leave to productivity. Exercise has been proven to lead to focus, efficiency, more energy, and productivity. Especially after weeks of consistent workout routines. This can help college students who are having trouble focusing and getting schoolwork done. With the gym now being open to everyone, staff at the Wellness Center encourage Shepherd students to access the free gym and all its amenities as much as possible.

An SU student does dumbbell exercises at the Wellness Center.
Picket staff photo by Kateri Kingfield


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