Project Description

Virtual Roundtables
NIRSA Ideas in Motion

Associate Director’s Roundtable

Friday, May 1, 9:00am PT / 12:00pm ET

Facilitated by Victoria Lopez-Herrera and Nicole LaRoque

Register for this Virtual Roundtable Today

Chat Transcript

00:34:51Nicole LaRocque

00:35:46MC Martinez - Innosoft

I have worked from home for over 5 years, and I totally agree that this time is not the same as regular work from home.

00:37:23Robin Embry

MC Martinez, what is the biggest difference that makes it not the same?

00:37:31Haley Sorenson

Wyoming is reopening gyms, salons, and daycares today.

00:37:56Haley Sorenson

Oh, I’m Haley Northwest College, WY

00:38:04Virginia Mohr

NJ opening county,state parks and golf courses this weekend.

00:38:22Robin Embry

I am curious how many believe it is too early to open due to the number of cases still growing?

00:38:31Haley Sorenson

We have some strict guidelines to follow to be able to open

00:38:39Becky Todd

At University of Arkansas, gyms in our state are opening on Monday, but we will not be.

00:38:43Jason Halsey

North Carolina is still shelter in place until 5/8

00:38:48Victoria Lopez-Herrera

00:38:57MC Martinez - Innosoft

@Robin - daycare hours/closures, no contact with people outside, really. I normally stay home all week and go do things during the rest of my time, but we can't even play at the playground with my 4.5 year old. It's normally fairly isolating to work from home, but the social aspect is manageable the rest of the time. But that has been very hard these days.

00:39:07Aracelis (Ary) Servedio

Gyms open May 4th in AR. University of Central AR is till closed.

00:39:08Tim Hammond

Iowa is still on the climb for cases... but we are opening 3/4 of the state. Athletic spaces are closed still.

00:39:31Tiffany McChesney

In Florida, we are opening parks, golf courses, and the like. However, our university may not open our gym until students come back in August.

00:39:35Joe Jordan

anyone planning to open *outdoor* spaces only (track, tennis, pools)...while leaving indoor spaces closed? Joe J / state of california

00:39:36Louis Morphew

At MSU Denver, Campus Recreation will not open until at least the fall semester. A decision will be coming about fall semester within the next 2 weeks.

00:40:36Steve Herishen

ny in place til May 15 as of now

00:40:47Scott Reed

UVA: State of Virginia still on stay at home order, no gyms open

00:41:16Katie Burns

At Utah State - we have kept outdoor spaces open. We are moving to a “orange” guidelines so we are returning to work on a staggered schedule to prepare for re-opening - we are opening our rental shop

00:42:06Sarah Shouvlin

We have considered removing equipment off of the fitness floor (not sure where we will put it??) to meet spacing guidelines for regulations.

00:42:18Haley Sorenson

Wyomings guidelines

00:42:25Bob Golson

also for a basketball court indoors

00:42:47Tim Hammond

Our outdoor spaces have been open.

00:43:31RJ Skinner

RJ at U of Manitoba, Canada, Provincially outdoor spaces can open as of Monday May 4, but at our University we are still closed, so opening of Tenis courts, turfs, track, etc., we are not yet sure.

00:43:41Chris Marks

We are looking to open park just off campus with social distancing in place and enforced - USF Tampa

00:43:42Derrick Law

You also have to consider fans that are used in the fitness areas as well as the HVAC system. Even at 13ft those systems alone eliminate the benefit of preventative actions.

00:43:52Robin Embry

In California the order has been extended through the end of May, so we won’t be opening any of our facilities, indoor or outdoor, until June at the earliest.

00:43:55Bob Golson

Virginia hiring freeze was interpreted to apply to student hiring as well

00:44:23Becky Todd

We have been particularly attentive to state guidelines, the gyms can open, but NO team sports and no pool/showers/sauna/spa

00:44:23Jeff Heiser

California has included gyms in stage 3 of the re-open plan. Stage 3 is expected to be “months” away, not weeks.

00:45:03Tiffany McChesney

In regards to outdoors, what have people been doing about lifeguards and pool operations for when you reopen your outdoor facilities? Do lifeguards have to wear masks, or is that dangerous in case a save needs to occur? What about those swimming? Do they need to remain 6 ft away from others swimming?

00:45:10Haley Sorenson

@ Chris we are moving equipment to our basketball courts too

00:45:12Marc Iturriaga

Marc @ Bonobo. Think about current practices in grocery stores - they state guidelines but do not enforce. Rec centres cannot be enforcers - it is impossible, there wont be enough staff, training, etc to enforce this. We canonly put the guidelines in place and educate, and facilitate the space.

00:46:27Janet Branch

I've heard push back on placing equipment on hardwood due to the weight and potential damage to the floor, even with protection (ie carpet) Has anyone addressed this concern? Janet FIU (Miami, FL)

00:46:37Walter Kolis

GA is allowing gyms to open (Executive Order: but we are remaining closed at Emory along with campus operating with a remote/WFH requirement.

00:47:26Arvin Varma

With regards to budgets, how many universities are supporting student staff and for how long?

00:47:35Brooke Turner

We are discussing that pro staff may be working the building for a bit as new hires, including students requires presidential approval

00:47:36Bob Weeks

@Tiffany McChesney, in some other roundtables, I've attended, a few places are saying they would need to have guards wear gloves and masks while in the chair, but remove the mask in the case of a rescue. There's no way to make rescue without getting into that 6ft range.

00:47:48Jason Halsey

UNC is supporting student staff through 5/8

00:48:08Louis Morphew

At MSU Denver we are still paying student staff for spring 2020 but that will end for the summer with the exception of a few students.

00:48:15RJ Skinner

Does anyone run Summer day-camps on their campus? Are those still being considered aside from the closures of regular operation?

00:48:17Marc Iturriaga

Also - all the efforts we put forth is going to go towards an exclusive few - we will be limiting space, equipment and programs which will only service those that are already integrated into our programs and services - it will build barriers to new participants and we will be putting more resources to smaller numbers of participants.

00:48:28Jeff Heiser

Regarding Aquatics, J Ellis has some great protocols to follow:

00:48:38Bob Weeks

Some states are also establishing a difference between opening a gym and a pool. Tennessee's guidelines for opening gyms specifically says that pools, hot tubs and saunas are to stay closed.

00:48:51Tiffany McChesney

We compensated ONLY our student employees (no temps) the average of their last three pay periods before we went virtual. This only extends until tomorrow, though.

00:48:53Haley Sorenson

@bob Wyoming too

00:48:54David Flumbaum

University of Maryland is not paying students unless we have telework opportunities for them.

00:49:02Chris Muller

UT Arlington has developed "alternative work plans" for students who "opt in" to the program through 5/31.

00:49:10Jeffrey Schmitt

Supporting student staff through today which is the end of spring semester at UWF.

00:49:22Brian Coriaty

@RJ Skinner Our youth summer camps are shut down with the exception of 1 or 2 that are developing a virtual camp.

00:49:24Robin Embry

All summer athletic and recreational camps at Stanford University have been cancelled.

00:50:13Shari Landmark

CDC will come out with guidelines regarding pool on May 15, 2020

00:51:11MC Martinez - Innosoft

@Robin - is that cancellation applying to the whole Bay Area or specifically at Stanford for now?

00:51:11Kristy Caldwell

Texas State is looking to continuing virtual opportunities as part of regular line up of offerings. Feedback has been super positive with this angle. We are remaining closed through our SS 1 regardless of state policy change.

00:51:18Robin Embry

Stanford University has allowed some student and part time staff to work on an exceptional basis, but 90 to 95% have been informed that we cannot employ them during the shelter in place order.

00:52:25Robin Embry

MC, the cancellation of camps is specific to Stanford, other institutions may choose to hold camps, Stanford will not this summer.

00:52:38Leah Belt

UNC Asheville, we are wondering the same concern about lifeguards for any close contact with any FA need that occurs once we do reopen.

00:53:11Tiffany McChesney

For camps, can we really expect kids to stay 6 feet away from one another in the pool?

00:53:58RJ Skinner

@Tiffany, we are not looking at camp activities in the pool, to my knowledge, for that reason

00:54:04Bob Weeks

^ That's one of the reasons we wanted to keep our leisure pool and hot tub closed, even if we are to open this summer.

00:54:10Tim Hammond

We are still hiring. If you know of anyone who wants to be a full-time lifeguard please encourage them to apply asap at

00:54:11erik daly

Vicki is correct! Single guard can't work, epically indoor. Aside from the most important issues facing pools/aquatics with a single guard(safety issues), who is cleaning surfaces? who is assisting patrons? etc.

00:54:22erik daly


00:56:58Bob Golson

My question is for Arizona schools and Purdue, where Admin has already said they will be open for the Fall. Has this adjusted their planning for staffing and distancing.

00:57:01David Flumbaum

Univ. of Maryland is continuing virtual opportunities as we are not opening for the rest of Spring term or the SS1 (July 13th is end SS1). Guidance from state for phased reopening is pretty conservative and Maryland is not close to entering Phase 1 which will include mostly outdoor opportunities (golf, tennis, hiking trails, etc.)

00:57:58Haley Sorenson

Northwest WY is open to the community, we are looking at having students, employees, and community members use a reservations tool because we are limited to only 9 people in the building.

00:59:05Bob Golson

yes Vicki at JMU we have had fence jumpers

00:59:10Janet Branch

FIU Miami did the same. Social media was quick to spur this response.

00:59:28Walter Kolis

2 things I’m thinking about. First, that we have to figure out whatever we do will be sustainable and not a hot fix or cost even more money to provide fewer experiences to fewer people. Second, that just like the states, we have to consider a phased approach and the possibility that we will move up and down along that spectrum. It will be critical to identify and communicate what those levels may be in advance.

00:59:31RJ Skinner

We had issues with people squeezing under the gates to our turf fields for soccer - concrete barriers are now in place

00:59:32Brandon MacCallum

At WCU, we removed all rims from outdoor basketball goals.

01:00:33Jason Halsey

At UNC, we had to lock up soccer/lacrosse goals, but that still hasn't deterred students/community members. the Chancellor finally had to address the issue with the campus community based on feedback from locals

01:00:37Lance Haynie

at the end of the day, all we can do is post the "rules" of safe behavior and rely on the patrons to abide by them

01:00:37Chris Marks

Removed basketball rims on outdoor courts at USF

01:01:00Lance Haynie

we can't police or enforce, there has to be some responsibility taken on by our patrons

01:01:03Janet Branch

Has anyone thought about bringing in a health professional to facilitate the temperature checks?

01:01:14Scott Reed

At UVA we locked courts as possible, took down nests, rims, taped off non controllable areas, posted closure signage to support UPD. Several complaints

01:02:06Jeffrey Schmitt

We have removed basketball rims, tennis nets, sand volleyball nets, and locked up soccer goals at UWF

01:02:38Aracelis (Ary) Servedio

I've been told the administration is thinking of supplying balaclava face masks.

01:02:44Brandon MacCallum

At WCU, we have a 7 mile mixed use trail system on campus. It is still open, but users are encouraged to follow CDC guidelines. It has been very busy every day as other local and national parks are still closed.

01:03:12Dana Lopez

I don't think we can trust that patrons will self monitor. At Wake Forest, we are discussing liminting number of spaces to use so we can have staff to monitor

01:03:20Marc Iturriaga

Excellent point @Walter Kolis! It would be a shame to put so many resources and energy into an unsustainable future rather than slow down and refocus our attention to what are true purpose is and how we best achieve those goals - it was probably needed before the pandemic and now is the perfect time for reassessment - are our efforts actually achieving the outcomes we are hoping for - healthy active students. All these efforts I am hearing about reopening concern me that it is about focusing on an elite few of participants. Maybe now is the perfect time to strategize for a sustainable future regardless of pandemic - and phasing all of that like Walter says is key with assessment happening throughout the phasing so we can be nimble and flexible and innovative.

01:06:45Derrick Law

Is anyone getting community push back about locking down outdoor recreation areas at public, taxpayer funded universities? Ultimately the patron/community member has to be responsible for themselves.

01:11:52Robin Embry

Well said Marc!! This is EXACTLY the point of why opening too early is the problem!

01:14:16Tiffany McChesney

Jenny, equipment is something we have struggled with. Do we stop lending equipment out that is tough to clean? (ex: resistance bands, weight lifting belts, etc.) Thoughts?

01:16:05Jenny Welnick

Since we won't open for a few months we haven't answered that yet, but we are trying to figure out what classes, offerings, etc. that we can do without shared equipment in case there aren't ways to safely clean them.

01:16:46Karina Knutson

At the University of North Dakota we are looking at purchasing fabric masks for all students, faculty, staff (2 each). Not sure who is funding, but this is something that is coming from high-level campus leadership. Our department is helping craft personal PPE health/wellness messages, mask care and use, etc.

01:17:28Tiffany McChesney

That's helpful, Jenny. We are working on sending out a lot of virtual fitness (Live ZOOM classes, on-demand fitness classes we recorded, etc.) That is what we will have to stick with in the meantime, since lending out equipment is a tough subject to deal with.

01:18:44RJ Skinner

I would say that that has been Manitoba's success, public health orders have been followed well by the public on whole (individuals) so that aids your ability to inform reopening procedures

01:19:23Nicole LaRocque

CU Boulder is exploring 2-3 hour shut down mid day for deep cleaning, having only morning and evening hours. Anybody else?

01:20:14Brandon MacCallum

Hey Nicole, same here at WCU. We are proposing opening 6am-8am, 11am, 2pm, 4pm-7pm and then deep cleaning between those times.

01:20:28Tiffany McChesney

Nicole, we are considering the same at NSU. Opening from 6-10am, closed from 10-2pm for cleaning, and re-open from 2-8pm.

01:21:06Sarah Shouvlin

My worry is about staff sustainability, just as much as equipment/building accessibility. It has been a rollercoaster for all of us. As Associate Directors, we often supervise others, which I’ve found to be an added challenge during this time - the feeling of needing to be the leader and motivator, while the adrenaline of dealing with crisis is starting to wear off and the grief is real for everyone. Mustering up more motivation, focus, and continuing to drop new expectations for staff (change is hard for most!) is a really really big challenge!

01:22:12Derrick Law

Realistically looking at preventing possible exposure is almost impossible. While limiting exposure to people we know are infected is important, daily exposure to bacteria and viruses is how our immune systems stay healthy. Its definitely a delicate balance.

01:22:23Sarah Shouvlin

Especially as we may be forced to ask staff to possibly be relocated to completely different work roles.

01:22:29Becky Todd

@SarahShouvlin- that feeling is shared by many. I find taking a day "off" every other week has helped. I communicate that I'm available for urgent needs, but I spend the day taking care of myself.

01:22:42Becky Todd

Helps me feel fresh to tackle the next "emergency"

01:22:47David Flumbaum

Nicole, U of Maryland is considering that kind of schedule as well, whether it be the whole building or staggered group fitness classes, short term shutdown of certain spaces through out the day to allow for thorough cleaning

01:23:34Tiffany McChesney

Is anyone planning on doing temperature checks when we do eventually re-open? We are back and forth...

01:23:56Robin Embry

Sarah, I agree 100% with you. I have been participating in daily (m-f) 15 minute checkins with my staff at their request. These are unstructured, chat sessions to say hello, but they have occasionally been used as short staff meeting also.

01:24:01Lance Haynie

@Tiffany, are y'all willing to take on that responsibility?

01:24:04Shari Landmark

Thank you so much, very helpful! Happy May Day!

01:24:05Becky Todd

@Tiffany That is part of our state guidelines- temp checks for staff. Uncertain if we will extend to participants..

01:24:20Lance Haynie

Is it your department's responsibility to do that?

01:24:52Derrick Law

Has anyone considered how seriously people will continue to take the precautions we are asking people to follow as they become desensitized?

01:25:08Kristy Caldwell

What conversations are occurring regarding FT staff layoffs in your departments?


We are being told our staff could be furloughed for the summer due to our facility being closed

01:27:08Tiffany McChesney

I am not sure if it is our responsibility to do temp checks as a department, but we are back and forth on whether we are doing our full due-diligence or not if we don't check their temps. (Would we be putting out other students at risk? We are still discussing...)

01:27:26Louis Morphew

At MSU Denver, our current fiscal year ends June 30th and there will be no cuts until the following fiscal year. There could be furloughs, pay cuts, early retirement in 20/21.

01:28:07MC Martinez - Innosoft

Are any other departments on campus in talks of taking someone's temperature (aside from staff which seems common) before they are allowed in?

01:28:11Nicole LaRocque

Thank you for this Sarah!

01:28:12Lance Haynie

@Tiffany, that seems like one of those things that should be on the patron. I personally don't think it is a recreation center's responsibility to perform something like that

01:28:14Scott Reed

For the finance planning question. Not sure if these help but we are preplanning for fiscal year 20-21 with a must to/essential only lense. Includes an essential level for reserve and operational budgets with phased options to employ in later fiscal quarters, based on reopening and fiscal status. Also major focus on intentional utility savings efforts. Basically, must do's for base operations, infrastructure projects, or COVID support resources

01:29:07Teresa Clements-Chico State

@Sarah - Thanks for sharing!

01:29:09Kristy Caldwell

Shared sentiment!!


Experiencing the same thing @Sarah!!!

01:29:37Tiffany McChesney

MAJORLY appreciate your words, @Sarah!

01:30:35Robin Embry

Thanks Sarah!

01:31:34MC Martinez - Innosoft

Zoom calls with friends who are near OR far since we can't hang out IRL :)

01:31:57Haley Sorenson

HAngout app. DO IT.

01:32:29MC Martinez - Innosoft

Weekly "cheers" at work with everyone at work for 15-30 minutes at the end of the week! Play a little online game together, chat about non-covid/non-work stuff, anything fun you might have done recently, etc. Anything goes.

01:32:48Kristy Caldwell

Good to see all these names and faces. Thanks Victoria and Nicole for facilitating!

01:33:09erik daly

Thanks for all the great input and info!

01:33:11Dana Lopez

I set up a few NIRSA zoom meetups with people I would have seen at NIRSA and it has been fab! Everyone was so happy to talk to a different person


connecting with colleagues across the country has been helpful... we have an ongoing text convo… usually when one person is down the other can pick you up because they're at another institution not experiencing the same negatives you are in that moment :)

01:33:26Marc Iturriaga

Great conversation, authenticity, vulnerability and facilitation! #NIRSAFamily

01:33:27Vicki Highstreet

Thank you to all. Great to see you all.

01:33:28RJ Skinner

Great to share everyone, take care and stay safe!


THank you!

01:33:32Sarah Shouvlin


01:33:32David Flumbaum

Thanks Everyone! Stay safe.

01:33:33Robin Embry

Thanks !

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