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NIRSA Reopening Considerations for Campus Recreation

Last Updated: June 18, 2020

Reopening Considerations for Campus Recreation

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the landscape of higher education. The education, programs, and services provided to and by nearly all campus communities has also changed. NIRSA has pivoted to help meet the evolving need of campus recreation professionals through virtual roundtables, pulse surveys, and the NIRSA Connect online discussion forum and resource library, where members have been sharing questions, experiences, and perspectives.

Because NIRSA members share knowledge so willingly, many resources and perspectives have been gathered through these connections, and enhanced by resources shared by partner associations, organizations, and companies.

In May, ten NIRSA members were appointed to a work team tasked with the purpose of gathering, reviewing and evaluating, and centralizing information and resources to form a Framework of Considerations for reopening campus recreation programs and facilities. The work team consists of associate and professional members and has representatives from every NIRSA region, from schools of small, medium, and large sizes, and from both public and private universities.

How to Use This Framework

This framework is divided into five sections:

Each area contains prompting questions and considerations to help institutions develop or refine their respective reopening guidelines. The information in this resource has been gathered from numerous resources and member input. The references and resources section of this framework includes the source materials used to create it.

Many local guidelines outline a phased approach to reopening. These phases depend on many variables. Many of these variables are only addressed in the Facilities section, as facilities are considered the “key gatekeeper” for reopening campus recreation.
This Considerations Framework is intended to guide campus recreation departments on questions and options to explore as they develop/refine their own unique reopening guidelines. As each institution develops its guidelines, it is imperative that where appropriate professionals consult and incorporate:

  • United States of America’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Public Health Agency of Canada (PHA) Guidelines
  • State, Provincial, and local guidelines (if they exist)
  • Institutional guidelines (if they exist)

Advocating for Campus Recreation

Campus recreation departments need to be proactive in advocating for their needs and the needs of the communities they serve.

In developing reopening guidelines you may experience:

  • An institution’s focus may be on academic services and may overlook or delay the development of resources/information to help non-academic or auxiliary programs and services
  • An institution may assume athletics guidelines will be the same for campus recreation

If your administration hasn’t reached out to campus recreation for options or thoughts, departments should contact administrators to provide your recommendations and make your voice heard. Things you can do to support administrative decisions:

  • Be proactive in communicating changes and policies to collaborative partners who use your space (summer camps, athletics, academic programs)
  • Coordinate with other appropriate university offices that could be impacted by your department’s planning (student centers, counseling, environmental health & safety, student health, career services, disability support services, etc.)

Reopening Framework Work Team

  • David Gaskins, Executive Director, George Mason University, Region II (Co-chair)
  • Laura Munroe, Executive Director, University of Texas at San Antonio, Region IV (Co-chair)
  • Bjorn Billehaug, Manager of Recreation, Mount Royal University, Canada
  • Robb Bolton, Director, Pepperdine University, Region VI
  • Laurie Braden, Executive Director, Louisiana State University, Region IV
  • Suzanne Brandt, Asst Director of Operations and Risk Management, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Region III
  • Cynthia Costanzo, Executive Director, University of Connecticut, Region I
  • Dave Elton, Education Market Manager North America, Precor, Associate Member
  • Greta Giese, EdD, Director Lifelong Learning & Recreation Center, Northwest Iowa Community College, Region V
  • Andy Ramirez, Associate Director, UC Davis, Region VI

Watch the roundtable discussion facilitated by Greta Giese and members of the Reopening Framework Work Team.

Watch Now

References and Resources

Field Guide for Camps on Implementation of CDC Guidance

Source: American Camp Association website
Author(s): Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc.
Publication Date: May 18, 2020
https://acacamps.app.box.com/s/7gkh9buu3ntssx2v38gajg4z94631lag

COVID-19 Reopening and Return to Play Resources

Source: American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) website
Author(s): American College of Sports Medicine
https://www.acsm.org/learn-develop-professionally/covid-19-reopening-return-to-play-resources

Coronavirus & Youth Sports

Source: The Aspen Institute: Project Play
Author(s): Project Play
Publication Date: June 10, 2020
https://www.aspenprojectplay.org/coronavirus-and-youth-sports

Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education in the COVID-19 Era

Source: American College Health Association Guidelines
Author(s): Reopening Guidelines Committee, part of ACHA’s COVID-19 Task Force
Publication Date: May 7, 2020
https://acha-test.app.box.com/s/k202537ahi3w27b0w6cdhqxynr3vljif

First Aid/CPR/AED Care During COVID-19

Source: The American Red Cross website
Author(s): The American Red Cross
https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/coronavirus-information/first-aid-cpr-aed-care-during-covid-19

Cleaning and Disinfection for Community Facilities

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Author(s): National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
Publication Date: Last reviewed: May 27, 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/organizations/cleaning-disinfection.html

Considerations for Youth Sports

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Author(s): National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
Publication Date: Last reviewed: May 29, 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/youth-sports.html

Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Institutions of Higher Education

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Author(s): National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
Publication Date: Last reviewed: March 18, 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-ihe-response.html

Parks and Recreational Facilities

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Author(s): National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
Publication Date: Last reviewed: May 20, 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/parks-rec/index.html

Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Author(s): National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
Publication Date: Last reviewed: June 9, 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/summer-camps.html

Youth Programs and Camps Decision Tool

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website
Author(s): National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD), Division of Viral Diseases
Publication Date: Last reviewed: May 15, 2020
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/youth-programs-decision-tool.html

Reimagining Youth Sports in a Post-COVID-19 World

Source: Changing the Game Project website
Author(s): John O’Sullivan
Publication Date: April 14, 2020
https://changingthegameproject.com/reimagining-youth-sports-in-a-post-covid-19-world/

COVID-19 Resources for Climbing Gyms

Source: Climbing Wall Association website
Author(s): Climbing Wall Association
Publication Date: Last updated: June 9, 2020
https://climbingwallindustry.org/page/Coronavirus

Roadmap to Reopening

Source: Climbing Wall Association (CWA) website
Author(s): The Climbing Wall Association
https://www.reopen.climbingwallindustry.org/

CREP: Returning to work to teach classes or train clients?

Source: Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals Reopening Guide
Author(s): Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professionals
http://www.usreps.org/Documents/CREP_ReturnToTeaching_.pdf

CORONAVIRUS – How to clean and disinfect climbing walls, holds, flooring, ropes & TRUBLUE Auto Belays

Source: Eldorado Climbing website
Author(s): Head Rush Technologies
Publication Date: Last updated: April 6, 2020
https://eldowalls.com/coronavirus-climbing-gym-cleaning

Recovery Plan Working Document

Source: George Mason University
Author(s): George Mason University Recreation
Publication Date: May 31, 2020

18 Safety Considerations for Your Health Club Reopening Plan

Source: International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) website
Author(s): Alexandra Black Larcom
Publication Date: April 22, 2020
https://www.ihrsa.org/improve-your-club/safety-considerations-for-your-health-club-reopening-plan/

Infectious Diseases

Source: Mayo Clinic website
Author(s): Mayo Clinic Staff
Publication Date: July 17, 2019
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infectious-diseases/symptoms-causes/syc-20351173

Coronavirus: How should US higher education plan for an uncertain future?

Source: McKinsey & Company’s McKinsey Insights
Author(s): Frankki Bevins, Jake Bryant, Charag Krishnan, and Jonathan Law
Publication Date: April 3, 2020
https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-sector/our-insights/coronavirus-how-should-us-higher-education-plan-for-an-uncertain-future#

Coronavirus Club Sports Information

Source: Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) website
Author(s): Next College Student Athlete
https://www.ncsasports.org/coronavirus-sports/club-sports-coronavirus

Strategy Outline for Covid-19 Risk Mitigation in Climbing Gyms

Source: Smart Climbing Gym website
Author(s):  Christian Popien, Matthias Polig, Christian Benk, Florian Schiffer, Ged MacDomhnaill, Christoph Gotschke, Peter Zeidelhack, Maria Hilber, Cody Roth
Publication Date: May 7, 2020
https://gym.vertical-life.info/articles/strategy-outline-covid-19-risk-mitigation-climbing-gyms

Can kids attend camp this summer? What newly released guidelines say

Source: Today
Author(s): Scott Stump
Publication Date: May 18, 2020
https://www.today.com/parents/summer-camp-guidelines-released-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-t181786

Reopening Plan DRAFT

Source: University of Houston
Author(s): Department of Campus Recreation
Publication Date: May 15, 2020

Guidelines for Opening Up America Again

Source: whitehouse.gov website
Author(s): The White House and the CDC
Publication Date: April 16, 2020
https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/

Wisconsin Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19: Gyms and Fitness Facilities

Source: Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation website
Author(s): Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Badger Bounce Back, and Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection
Publication Date: May 7, 2020
https://wedc.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/COVID-19-Gyms-and-Fitness-Facilities-Guidelines.pdf

Disclaimer

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly altered the landscape of higher education. The education, programs, and services provided to and by nearly all campus communities has also changed.  Because NIRSA members share knowledge so willingly, many resources and perspectives have been gathered through these connections, and enhanced by resources shared by partner associations, organizations, and companies. 

As noted in the introduction, this Considerations Framework is intended to guide campus recreation departments on questions and options to explore as they develop/refine their own unique reopening guidelines. As each institution develops its guidelines, it is imperative that where appropriate professionals consult and incorporate:

  • United States of America’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or Public Health Agency of Canada (PHA) Guidelines
  • State, Provincial, and local guidelines (if they exist)
  • Institutional guidelines (if they exist)

The References and Resources cited in this document are for general information purposes only, and may not include the most current information available.  Inclusion of any reference and resource content does not imply NIRSA’s support for or endorsement of any of the sources of such content.

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