The Ram Fit Center in the basement of the McGinley Center reopened to the Fordham community on Friday, Oct. 23 at 2 p.m.
“The health and safety of our community is our main priority,” read the Fordham Ram Fit COVID-19 plan that was emailed out by Fordham Athletics. “The fitness center space and equipment will be limited to ensure social distancing can be maintained during workouts. The athletic department and custodial services have been working together on ensuring our facilities health and safety plan is in accordance with the state and city mandates.”
The Ram Fit center has implemented a reservation policy through IMLeague.com. Students are allowed to register once a day for a one-hour session. There is a 24-hour window for registration, and only 25 students will be allowed to sign up for each time slot. Following each hour time slot, the gym will be closed for 30 minutes for cleaning.
Grace Rooney, FCRH ’23, said she likes the reservation system because then she knows exactly how many people will be there.
Maria Fournaris, FCRH ’22, reiterated Rooney’s thought saying she had a lot more space.
“I like it so much better than before because I feel like before everybody was so on top of each other, it was too much, and now I just feel more free to do the things that I wanna do and not have people breathing on top of me,” said Fournaris.
Gabrielle Bindseil, FCRH ’22, said the system for cleaning the equipment between uses by students is the same.
“You just grab a little wet wipe and clean. So it’s good that the extra time for cleaning is built into the schedule. Or else it would be just as dirty as before,” she said.
The Fordham Ram Fit COVID-19 plan outlined a list of rules for the gym as well. Students cannot enter without a reservation and a proper ID. The main cardiovascular area and spin room are open, but all other areas are marked closed and off-limits. The equipment has been properly spaced apart allowing a safe workout. There are sanitizing stations throughout the facility. Also, group workouts are not allowed — only individual workouts.
The plan said anyone who violates these rules will have their gym privileges revoked immediately.
Bindseil said she liked that the equipment was spaced out, but said there were only two ellipticals available. She said that might turn into an issue, but ultimately there are so few people in the gym that the equipment you need will probably become available.
Rooney said all of the major weight lifting equipment was also closed off.
The plan emphasized that face masks must be worn the entire time. Signs on the doors of the gym describe appropriate masks to wear in the gym and state that neck gaiters and face shields are not sufficient.
“I did notice that the guard who sits at the desk was going over to people and being like ‘above your nose, above your nose,’ so I did appreciate that too because I think a lot of people on the treadmills were like sneakily pulling it down, and I noticed that the guard was watching and making sure people were wearing the mask properly,” said Bindseil.
Sydney Souness, FCRH ’21, said it’s nice to have the gym back in general because people haven’t been able to go to gyms since March.
“It’s definitely better than people going to a gym on Fordham Road because you’re exposing yourself to a greater community of people, so it’s nicer to have this here,” she said.
Jack Kennedy, FCRH ’23, said he’s curious to see what the set up is like and how they plan on keeping everything under control. He said if he’s even slightly uncomfortable, he does not plan on going back.
“I also use the gym for my mental health as well so it has its positives and its negatives, but obviously I’ve had to find other outlets besides the gym since COVID,” said Kennedy.
Laura Kelly, FCRH ’23, has been going to the fitness center over the last four days. She said it’s pretty empty over the weekend, but closer to capacity during the week.
“I think the staff has a really good system going (making a 1-hour reservation in advance, half-hour gaps between each block for the staff to sanitize) but I am definitely more vigilant than I usually am when I’m there because I’d imagine a gym is a breeding ground for the virus,” she said.