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Penn announced that Pottruck Health and Fitness Center will be open for students to use starting on Feb. 24 with restrictions to follow COVID-19 guidelines.

Credit: Mira Shetty

After being shuttered for nearly one year, Penn’s Pottruck Health and Fitness Center will reopen some of its facilities to all undergraduate students on Feb. 24.

Pottruck began a reopening pilot program on Feb. 3 after the Quiet Period ended, with plans to potentially reopen to all students. Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé told The Daily Pennsylvanian on Feb. 23 that the protocols taken during the pilot program “have been shown to work.”

The University announced the updated policy in an email to all undergraduate students on Tuesday morning, writing that students will be required to wear a mask for the duration of their workout. Students must also show a green PennOpen Pass prior to entering Pottruck and adhere to policies outlined in the Student Campus Compact

Reservations will be available beginning Feb. 24 on the Campus Recreation Member Portal

Students may make no more than one reservation per day and three reservations per week, and must select a specific exercise room to use for the duration of their 60-minute workout when reserving a time.

On weekdays, the earliest reservation time will begin at 9 a.m. and the latest will begin at 6 p.m. In between reservation blocks, the rooms will be closed for 30 minutes for crew members to sanitize all equipment.

Beginning Feb. 24, only the first-floor cardio room, second-floor weight room, and second-floor multi-purpose room will be open. Minimal occupancy restrooms will be open, while the locker rooms will remain closed.

Reopening dates for other Pottruck facilities — including the Sheerr Pool, the Gimbel basketball courts, and the third and fourth floors — will be announced soon, according to the email.

Dubé said that over the past two weeks, Penn has piloted the Pottruck protocols with an increasing number of students among a number of different populations. He added that the University had previously hoped to open Pottruck in December, but was unable to after Philadelphia instituted a Safer at Home restriction. 

“This plan has always been envisioned for the community,” Dubé said. “When we were unable to open in December, it was disappointing, so we’re very excited to be reopening Pottruck now.”

Pottruck is the most recent in a growing list of Penn student recreation facilities that have reopened, including Franklin Field, Rockwell Gymnasium, and Penn Park. Penn athletes also received clearance to begin practicing formally — even after the spring conference season was canceled on Feb. 18.

Director of Campus Health Ashlee Halbritter said she hopes that the reopening of Pottruck can serve to buoy the Penn community’s spirits amid the pandemic.

“We have worked so hard for so many months to get Pottruck open for students for endorphins, a little bit of normalcy, and because we all believe that physical exercise is so important not just physically, but also mentally,” Halbritter said. “Pottruck reopening is a huge deal, and these moments of success are to be celebrated.”