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So, you’re an active person. You were a frequent sighting at Vancouver Island University’s weight room or participated in intramurals like basketball and volleyball—maybe you even took advantage of VIU’s Outdoor Recreation program.

The good news is these options are still open to you, only they’ll look a little different this year.

VIU’s weight room opened its doors to students on September 8, while sign-up for Outdoor Recreation and intramurals began September 14.

The process to use the weight room is relatively easy. Online booking is required through the Mariners website, where you can choose one of three time slots: 910:30 am, 11:30 am–1 pm, and 2–3:30 pm. Registration now features a series of COVID-19-related questions to make sure you’re not sick, and a limit of one person per booking. Also, bookings can’t be made more than three days in advance.

Inside, things look pretty much the same, with some exceptions.

“It’s all about spacing,” Mike Jones, VIU’s gym attendant, said. “We’ve taken equipment out, we’ve made areas that are taped off so that people know […] they have to go to that area.”

The walls of the weight room are dotted with new signs emphasizing the need to keep things clean, something Jones said VIU is also working hard on.

“Sanitization has definitely ramped up. Everything that is going to be touched has to be sanitized, so that’s why we’ve broken it into [three sections]. That gives us an hour between workout sessions [where] we can sanitize the weight room again, [and] start fresh,” Jones said.

Of course, Jones said, it’s not only up to them to keep students safe. The new rules insist equipment be wiped down before and after use, hands washed, and hand sanitizer used often from the dispensers.

“We have way more people up there watching, kind of getting the gist of who’s cleaning and who’s not, and making sure we clean up after them,” Jones added.

Intramurals are often a highlight for VIU students. Three-on-three volleyball, badminton/pickleball, and dodgeball leagues are the university’s solution to social distancing. These sports offer the COVID-19 safety that soccer, basketball, and full-team volleyball can’t.

Three-on-three volleyball is on Monday nights starting September 28, dodgeball is on Wednesday nights starting October 7, and badminton/pickleball is on Tuesday mornings starting September 29. All leagues are co-ed and have a $30 per student league fee.

VIU’s Outdoor Recreation program includes activities such as hikes, sea-kayaking, and surfing made easy and affordable for students wanting to participate.

“A big thing [for Outdoor Recreation] is people would pay and they’d get transportation, they’d get all their equipment, so it was a pretty inexpensive thing to do,” Jones said.

The program is still happening, although Jones added that seat numbers will be cut down to keep social distancing on the buses.

“We’ll have four spots for people that need transportation and four spots for people [that don’t]. So, we’ve had to split that up and the cost will change accordingly.”

Jones added that sign-up for events has been slow so far.

“Hopefully as people get to know it and feel more comfortable, they’ll sign up for more so they can get out and feel more normal.”

Sign-up for Outdoor Recreation, intramural leagues, and weight room sessions can be found at www.mariners.viu.ca/Rec/index.

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