The Recreational Sports Facility, or RSF, reopened Monday for limited in-person operations for UC Berkeley students.
Amid decreasing COVID-19 cases, the city of Berkeley and Alameda County moved to the less restrictive orange tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy on March 31, according to Brigitte Lossing, director of Berkeley Recreational Sports. Recreational Sports worked closely with campus public health officials and other committees to reopen the RSF for students only.
“Recreational Sports is committed to supporting the fitness and wellness needs of our students,” Lossing said in an email. “We are excited to provide this service to our students to support their wellbeing.”
In order to adhere to physical distancing and density capacity requirements, the RSF is limiting capacity for group exercise classes, as well as for weight room and cardio equipment usage, according to Lossing.
Additional physical distancing markers and reminder signs for students to wipe down equipment before and after use have been placed throughout RSF activity areas. Lossing noted that all users are required to wear masks at all times.
According to campus spokesperson Ellen Topp, students must make reservations on the Recreational Sports online store to use the RSF. Lossing added that students will be required to show their Cal 1 Card along with their compliance with campus requirements, such as the daily symptom screener and surveillance testing.
As indoor exercising has become more difficult due to COVID-19 precautions, campus sophomore Sydney Liang started engaging in outdoor activities such as running and hiking. Nonetheless, Liang noted that she is excited about RSF’s reopening and anticipates returning to it regularly once she is fully vaccinated in May.
Bella Bonvino, a campus senior, worked as an administrative assistant in the RSF’s fitness office during her sophomore and junior years. Throughout the course of the pandemic, Bonvino observed that many students who used to work out in the gym prior to RSF’s closing have struggled to maintain their usual level of activity.
“Though we are still far from resuming our usual, pre-pandemic operations, I am really excited…that the RSF is reopening,” Bonvino said in an email. “I think many students, including myself, are feeling very grateful that the RSF will be open again.”
She added that the RSF’s decision to reopen and make exercise equipment more accessible can help students regain a sense of normalcy and recommit to physical activity.
Bonvino “wholeheartedly” supports the RSF’s decision to reopen, as long as staff and students continue to abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for COVID-19 precautions.
“Out of everything that I’ve lost over the past year, it is the thing that I miss the most. I miss it so much; believe it or not, my job was one of the highlights of my college experience,” Bonvino said in the email. “The environment/atmosphere was so fun and friendly.”