Students deal with closure of BYU fitness facilities and programs

The BYU women’s gym located in the Richards Building was shut down after the first week of school due to COVID guidelines not being followed. Now all campus fitness facilities and programs are closed or suspended until further notice.

Exact details were not released to the public about the women’s gym closing, but the Student Wellness department decided to close it as a safety precaution and to maintain a healthy environment.

“Our top priority is keeping everyone healthy,” said Lauren Hansen, the office manager for the Student Wellness department. “We understand that COVID is serious and we want the students and faculty to have access to the facilities, but know that a lot is up in the air right now.”

A few weeks have gone by since the closing of the women’s gym and the city of Provo has now shifted from a code yellow to code orange, forcing the Student Wellness department to close or suspend all fitness facilities and programs for the time being.

The indoor track in the Smith Fieldhouse is one of the several BYU fitness areas currently closed due to COVID precautions. (BYU Photo)

The student fitness center, outdoor and indoor tennis courts, Richards Building and Smith Fieldhouse gyms, pool, indoor and outdoor tracks, and more are closed until further notice.

“These decisions go through a chain of people that make sure the guidelines and precautions are a safe solution,” Hansen said. “Luckily, we haven’t had a lot of close calls this semester so it is nice knowing the students and faculty are trying their best.”

Various fitness programs such as YFitness, intramurals, open play, and in-person fitness training are suspended until further notice.  

“I work with student wellness so I’m really sad that everything is shutting down,” said Suzie Cox, an advertising assistant for the Student Wellness department. “I’ll have less opportunities to interact with students, less to do as employees, just overall there will be less to do.”

Some students have concerns about the closures because the university fitness facilities were a primary resource for them.

“I’m worried about our wellbeing, as a whole student body,” sophomore marketing student Megan Davies said. “I want to be motivated to work out, but there’s so many excuses to not be active right now.”

For some, this closure strikes parallels to last winter’s nation-wide shutdown. Investing in health and wellbeing is a necessity for some students in these uncertain times. With the closing and suspension of campus facilities, many students do not know where to turn.

“I think everything will slow down again. It is almost like what happened last winter. I am just trying to emotionally prepare for that,” Cox said. “With the weather getting colder, it is much harder to find places to be fit and active inside.”

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