College temporarily closes Alumni Gym, sends reminder emails in response to students’ non-compliance with COVID-19 measures

According to Acting Provost David Kotz, the gymnasium’s closure on Wednesday is intended to encourage the wearing of masks and respect for gymnasium staff. Before the closure, a “communication incident” on Tuesday resulted in the refoulement of students at the Alumni Gym

by Sophie Lewis | 18 minutes ago

Acting rector David Kotz said that before relaxing COVID-19 requirements, the college expects students to have better compliance with weekly tests and mask wearing.

In response to students’ non-compliance with the mandate of indoor masks at the Alumni Gymnasium and some non-compliance with weekly tests, the College closed the gymnasium for general recreational activities on Wednesday and sent emails from test reminder Monday.

Despite the closure, the club’s sports teams were still able to train in the alumni gymnasium and the West Gym test center remained open. Days earlier Monday, students who had failed the COVID-19 test last week received emails from the college asking them to get tested within 48 hours.

Mask compliance

During “community conversations” on September 29, Acting Sports Director Peter Roby warned of a possible 24-hour gym closure.

“If we can’t keep the mask wearing at a high rate, it may force us to try to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that it’s a privilege, and shut down the facility, maybe. be for 24 hours – make some people angry, ”Roby said.

Acting Marshal David Kotz said gymnasium staff struggled to promote the constant wearing of the mask. He added that instances of verbal abuse by gym users who refused to wear masks properly forced at least one hardworking student to quit his job.

“The purpose here is to remind people that using recreational facilities is a privilege and that masking is necessary to use these facilities, and we hope that when they reopen, people will remember that they have to use them. responsible manner, and that includes the appropriate treatment of staff and students, ”said Kotz.

Melissa Chau GR’22, weekend manager at Alumni Gymnasium, said her duties included hourly patrols to ensure masking guidelines were followed.

“In general, what happens is that you ask [gym patrons] put on a mask, and they’ll put the mask on, and then once you leave they’ll take it off again, ”she said. “It doesn’t sound safe, but for me and for a lot of people who work in office positions, we are generally socially distanced.”

Chau said she personally supported the gym’s closure.

“It tells students that the College is serious,” she said. “There are consequences to our actions in that we should probably be more responsible as students in protecting the health of others, because there are people like adults who go to the gym, who have problems. families, who interact with the Hanover community. “

Associate Athletic Director for Club and Intramural Sports Heather Somers wrote in an email to indoor club members on Tuesday that the College will announce the 24-hour closure of West Gym, Zimmerman Fitness Center and squash and racquetball courts later in the day.

The email, obtained by The Dartmouth, cited “several issues with the student body in general” as the reason for the shutdown and noted that the club’s sports teams had largely followed the rules.

“The hope is to get people’s attention so that compliance and adherence to College and building staff policy improves,” Somers wrote.

While a sign has been installed outside the main entrance to the gymnasium, the rest of the student body in general has not been otherwise notified of the gymnasium’s closure.


Between 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m., students who had failed their COVID-19 test the previous week received test reminder emails, according to five of the emails obtained by The Dartmouth. These messages – the first of their kind to be sent this term – asked students to complete their test within two days and informed them that test hours at West Gym had been extended until 5 p.m. that day.

However, due to a “communication incident”, the test site had closed at 3 p.m. and the recipients of the reminder email were turned away at the door. Kotz called the situation “frustrating”.

“A communication incident is a perfect description,” Kotz said. “I don’t know the details, but I understand that there was a communication problem that caused the center to close earlier than expected. “

Colin Kearns ’25 was one of dozens of students who were turned away from the testing site shortly before 5 p.m. Kearns said he gets tested every week, until long lines at the testing center forced him to skip a test last week.

“I asked my friend who was in line how long they had been waiting [were] like halfway there, and it was 45 minutes, ”he said, noting his experience last week. “I made an appointment expecting them to do it on time, but I didn’t expect to have to wait an hour and a half to get it.

Kotz said the college is still working to coordinate the logistics of home COVID-19 test, which he hopes will make the testing process more convenient for students.

Before all requirements are relaxed, the college wants better compliance with weekly testing and mask wearing, according to Kotz. In addition to the gym facilities, administrators are concerned about the inconsistent wearing of masks in the library.

“We would like to see 100% of students wearing masks now so that we can continue to provide access to popular library spaces as well as support for your research and learning,” Associate Librarian Jennifer Taxman wrote in a commentary. e-mail report to The Dartmouth. . “We look forward to the day when masks are no longer needed so that we can greet everyone with a smiley face. ”

Kotz said he couldn’t provide details of disciplinary action that could be taken if students continue to violate the college’s COVID-19 protocol.

“We would obviously prefer not to have to impose consequences,” he said.

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