Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 17, 2021

Students react to the Rec Center's re-opening

By DAVID BAIK | February 22, 2021

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COURTESY OF CHRIS H. PARK

The Rec Center will reopen on Feb. 22 after delays due to a COVID-19 cluster.

Director of Athletics and Recreation Jennifer S. Baker and Director of Recreation and Facilities Bill Harrington wrote in an email to students on Feb. 1 that the Recreation (Rec) Center would remain closed in light of a recent COVID-19 cluster.

Despite the surge in cases, with as many as 58 cases earlier this month, a follow-up email from the directors announced that the Rec Center was set to open on Monday, Feb. 22.

While some students had hoped the gym would be open sooner, sophomore Ben Du explained that he had anticipated that the Rec Center opening would be postponed.

“When I first got the email that the Rec was going to be closed for another two weeks, I wasn’t too surprised. Obviously, I was really bummed out,” Du said. “But given our current situation, I’ve pretty much learned to expect the unexpected and be ready to adapt to any changes.”

Sophomore Oliver Valera explained that although he was disappointed that certain resources — such as the basketball courts — were unavailable to students, he understood why the decision was made.

“I wasn’t surprised, given how serious Hopkins is taking everything, which is understandable of course,” Valera said.

With the Rec Center remaining closed until Feb. 22, students shared how they were making the most of their means.

Sophomore Ashley Koenig noted that she has been able to use a facility in her off-campus apartment.

“Instead of going to the Rec Center, I’ve been using the gym at my apartment building. The downsides are that my apartment’s gym has a maximum capacity of only one person, and it doesn’t have as much equipment as the Rec,” Koenig said.

Du has also made sure to find ways to be active while the campus gym was closed.

“My alternatives are to either go running or try and replicate my workouts in the apartment. During the beginning of the pandemic, I had the luxury of owning actual equipment. However, that was when I was in my home in Texas. Now, I am back in Baltimore, so I have to get a little creative with the exercises that I do,” Du said.

As the Rec Center re-opens on Monday, an employee shared their views about postponement. The employee will remain anonymous, as The News-Letter offers anonymity to individuals who are at risk of losing their job by disclosing information

“I was not surprised by the news. The Rec is completely understaffed, and I honestly don't know how we can be expected to operate at all given the staff shortage, pandemic and construction,” the employee said.

The anonymous employee also expressed disappointment with how the Rec Center’s employees have been treated.

“Despite all the precautions, I still think a gym has no business being open during the pandemic,” the employee said. “As things stand, many employees, myself included, returned to Baltimore and reduced hours at our other jobs thinking we would start working again Feb. 1.”

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