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Yoga class attendees follow instruction from Kiera Jonson, a senior in microbiology, during a restorative yoga class on Saturday, Feb 8. 2020 in Carmichael Gym.

NC State Wellness and Recreation and the Department of Health and Exercise Studies will have both in-person and online classes this fall due to COVID-19. The departments are making sure precautions are in order for students to stay safe during their classes.  

NC State Wellness and Recreation protocols 

Assistant Director of Fitness Will Craig said faculty have received positive feedback from instructors and students since all fitness classes moved online for the spring and summer terms. However, Carmichael Gymnasium will be reopening on Monday, July 20, after being closed since mid-March.

Following state guidelines, Craig said class sizes will be reduced to about 10 people, all equipment has been moved to be at least 6 feet apart to allow for social distancing, and there will be designated walk spaces throughout the gym. People can also sign up for workout time slots through their WellRec app. 

According to Craig and the Wellness and Recreation website, students will be required to wear masks when walking around the facility, but can remove their mask during their workout once they enter a class or begin to use the equipment. However, masks will be encouraged if students are doing a lower intensity excerise.

Craig also said that the Wellness and Recreation staff have been planning extensively for the past few months and created innovative options for students. 

“We also built workout pods where you have your own little private pod and every cardio piece of equipment throughout the facility,” Craig said.

Craig said that these new workout pods are primarily cardio based because they expect more heavy breathing with cardio exercise. There will be about 90 pods in the gym for members to use. As social distancing will continue to be enforced, Craig said he does expect some disconnect in group classes.

“Part of what makes group fitness so enticing to people is the camaraderie you get from being around a bunch of other people and motivating each other,” Craig said.

Despite the many changes that will come this upcoming semester, Craig said he believes many Wellness and Recreation staff are looking forward to the future of fitness at the Carmichael Gym.

“I think there is some hesitation and nervousness from everybody involved, but what I love about our instructors is they're just so flexible and so gung-ho to do anything,” Craig said. 

Craig also said that, moving forward, students should refer to the Wellness and Recreation website as they are keeping information as updated as possible. 

“The biggest thing is making fitness inclusive to everybody no matter what their current situation is and where their physical location is,” Craig said.“Just find what works for you and reach out to us; we’re here.”

Department of Health and Exercise Studies protocols 

As far as academic credit fitness classes, Beth Wright Fath, the department head for health and exercise studies, is also excited to get back to working in person. Fath said that the department is also using research and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to make classes safe. 

Some classes will be fully online and others will be hybrid, with students divided into two groups where half go to in-person classes one day and the other half will go on a separate day. This strategy should allow for proper social distancing with less people in each in-person class session, according to Fath.

Mask requirements will vary from class to class for academic fitness courses. The department is still waiting to hear from officials about exact mask protocols, but Fath said masks will be required for dance courses. 

Fath also teaches a course for dance minors called Introduction to Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals. She said there will be a grid taped to the floor for dance studio classes to ensure social distancing. 

“As a faculty member, the coolest thing is when you're working with a student and you see that light go off in their eyes, and to be present in that moment is an honor,” Fath said. “Yes it can happen online, but any faculty member in any discipline would say, I think, it is much better in person.”

Some students may be reluctant to take a fitness course or group class right now but both Wellness and Recreation and the Department of Health and Exercise Studies plan to offer online classes and resources this fall.

“If people are anxious about in-person classes, there are fully online options so it should not keep anyone from progressing toward graduation,” Fath said.

As students and faculty approach the reopening of the Carmichael Gym and in-person fitness classes, both Craig and Fath said they are pleased with how NC State is handling everything.

“I know we're not perfect but NC State has done a really good, comprehensive job of caring for students from an academic, financial and safety — in all the realms that they can,” Fath said.