COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions | Recreational Services
The University of Iowa

General FAQ's

Will locker rooms be available? 

Locker rooms are open and available. We encourage all members to practice social distancing when utilizing the locker rooms.

  • Towel service will not be available.
  • Showers will be available. 

Will any of the pools be open?

The Natatorium is open for lap swim and the Rec Pool is open for recreational swim. You can sign up for a lap lane in one-hour time blocks on our website HERE

Will the sauna and/or steam room be available? 

The sauna and steam room will be closed until further notice. 

Will the track be open? 

Yes. We encourage all members to practice social distancing when utilizing the track. Please be mindful of others using this space and do not walk/run next to someone unless making a pass. 

Will I be allowed to play indoor basketball, volleyball, or soccer/futsal? 

In order to maintain social distancing these activities will not be allowed until further notice. 

Will the climbing wall be open? 

The climbing wall remains closed for general use until further notice, however users may sign up for try-climbs. The bouldering wall is open for use general use with advanced registration.

Can I reserve spaces in the facility for events like a birthday party or sport competition? 

Unfortunately, we will not be hosting group events in our facilities at this time. 

Which spaces and/or program offerings are NOT available ?

The following areas in the CRWC will remain closed until further notice:

  • Climbing Wall (Try-climbs and bouldering wall are available with advanced registration).
  • Massage Oasis 
  • Saunas 
  • Steam Rooms 
  • Wet Classroom 

The following areas in the Field House will remain closed until further notice: 

  • Saunas 

Macbride Nature Recreation Area will remain closed until further notice due to storm damage on August 10, 2020.

I purchased an annual/monthly membership with a set end date. Due to the closure I was unable to use a portion of my membership. What are my options? 

Since your charges do have a specified end date, you have two options:

  • Receive a refund for time lost.
  • Extend your membership in an amount equal to the number of days lost due to these closures.

Please complete our refund form HERE to indicate your preference.   

I purchased an annual/monthly locker with a set end date. Due to the closure I was unable to use a portion of my locker rental. What are my options?

Since your charges do have a specified end date, you have two options:

  • Receive a refund for time lost.
  • Extend your locker in an amount equal to the number of days lost due to these closures.

Please complete our refund form HERE to indicate your preference.  

I have an employee membership that comes out of my paycheck each month. Have I been billed during the time the facilities have been closed? 

We bill for memberships retroactively.

  • April transactions you see are for your memberships for the month of March.
  • Due to our billing processes, we billed the full month of March. As we were closed for part of the month, we then issued a pro-rated refund for the number of days we were closed. This was posted to your UBill in early April.
  • Members who earned the liveWELL incentive were credited $10.73, which can be found under the “Earnings” section of your paycheck. 
  • We did not bill past the month of March.
  • Membership fees were reinstated on August 1, 2020.

I have an employee membership that I pay for monthly.  Even though facilities are open, I am unable to visit in person.  What are my options?

If you aren't able to visit our facilities, you can still use your membership to access virtual fitness classes.  Attending these classes will count towards your monthly visits.  Please be sure to notify the instructor that you would like credit for attending class.  You can view all of our virtual fitness offerings on our group fitness schedule.  For those employee members who are eligible for the recreation membership incentive program, this is a great way for you to keep your membership and earn your incentive!

If you would like to wait to start using your membership at a later date you would need to fill out our cancelation request form HERE and then sign up again whenever you are ready to rejoin. Members are not eligible for the incentive the first month which they sign up. There is no fee for canceling your membership. 

Will I be able to purchase a daily walk-in pass?

As of Tuesday, September 8, daily walk-in passes may again be purchased.

  • The pass is only good for the location and time slot in which it was purchased - passes may not be reused.
    • Passes will be sold at the Field House and the CRWC only.
    • Drop-in tennis users may still reserve a court at the HTRC by visiting the member services desk or by calling (319) 384-1215.
  • Passes will be available on a first come, first served basis - time slots are not guaranteed.
  • The following activities are not available to walk-in users at this time:
    • Basketball
    • Bouldering wall
    • Group fitness classes
    • Lap swimming
    • Soccer/futsal
    • Volleyball

I previously purchased a 10-punch pass. Will I be able to use these to work out?

Yes, please stop at the member services desk to utilize the pass. 

Will I be required to wear a mask while I work out?

Yes. The University’s Critical Incident Management Team (CIMT) has worked to develop and disseminate policies and processes for returning employees and students to campus with the goals of limiting exposure to and slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  

To achieve these goals, the CIMT solicited and received detailed input from multiple stakeholders, including UI and outside experts in medical and public health science; facility managers; research administrators; emergency managers; educational specialists; and others.  The policies and processes developed by CIMT represent its efforts to address multiple objectives, including a robust educational experience and a campus with a reduced risk of coronavirus infection. 

In an effort to reduce concerns related to the spread of COVID-19, face masks are expected to be worn in all buildings and facilities at the University of Iowa, including recreation facilities.

We encourage individuals to evaluate what may work best for them and their comfort level while participating in activities.  We also encourage individuals to consult with their healthcare provider prior to engaging in any physical activity. 

A face shield alone without an accompanying face mask will not be permitted.  Gaiters are not an approved face covering alternative. 

It will take time for everyone who wants to be vaccinated to receive the required doses so, until then, all of us must continue to take the steps necessary to protect ourselves and our community. You should continue to wear a face mask, avoid large gatherings, maintain social distance, and frequently wash your hands.

Will I be able to come workout anytime I wish?

Yes, however advance registration is required. Density restrictions will be implemented of no greater than 50% of maximum users at one time in a facility/activity area.  Space will need to be reserved in advance via the Recreational Services online registration system. These restrictions will apply to each of the following indoor buildings:  

  • Campus Recreation and Wellness Center  
  • Field House  
  • Fitness East 
  • Hawkeye Tennis & Recreation Complex (NOTE: Normal tennis court reservation procedures will still be in effect

How far in advance can I register for a time slot?

Registration will open 24 hours in advance for each offering.  

Why can I only register 24 hours in advance?

Registration opens 24 hours in advance to ensure everyone has an opportunity to obtain a spot.

Can I register for more than one activity during the same time slot?  Can I register for different time slots in the same day?  For example, CRWC Cardio/Strength Equipment and a Group Fitness Class?  

Yes, you may register for more than one spot, however you may only register for one time slot per offering, per day. For example, you can sign up for one cardio/weight time slot and one lap swimming time slot in the same day, however you may not sign up for two cardio/weight time slots in the same day, for the same facility.  Please keep in mind if your registrations take place during different time slots, you will be asked to leave in between so staff may check you in to your new time slot. 

How long are the time slots for facility access?

Generally speaking, each time slot is 90 minutes.  Specific programming, such as open lap swim and group fitness classes, will be adjusted to fit within the time slot.  

Can I use the Recreational Services app to register for a time slot?  

Yes!  In fact, we encourage it!  The app will give you the most up-to-date options for facility offerings and programs. 

I signed up for a time slot, but can no longer attend during that time.  Can I cancel my registration?

Yes, you may cancel your registration at any point prior to the start of the time slot. Information on how to cancel your registration can be found HERE

Can I sign up for a time slot that has already started?  

No, once a time slot has started you will not be able to register for that time. Staff will direct you to sign up for the next available time slot.

What will you be doing to ensure social distancing measures will be enforced? 

Recreational Services has several measures in place to ensure social distancing: 

  • Machines, equipment and program participants will be reconfigured to be spaced a minimum of 6 feet apart for lower intensity activities and a minimum of 10 feet apart for higher intensity activities.  
  • Individual and pickup basketball, volleyball, and soccer will not be available in indoor facilities. 
  • Recreational Services Facility Operations team members will be following CDC guidelines for cleaning equipment and facility spaces. 
  • Plexiglass dividers have been installed at member services desks and main office reception areas (as applicable) to minimize respiratory contact between staff and members. 
  • Density restrictions will be implemented for all essential in-person events (indoors or outdoors, on or off campus) to ensure 6 feet of social distancing.

Will I be allowed to check out equipment at your indoor facilities?

Towel service and equipment rentals in each of the facilities remain unavailable until further notice.

Program-specific FAQ's

What are the Lap Swim hours? 

Lap Swim hours can be found on our website HERE.

Are the Rec Pool and Rec Spa open? 

The Rec Pool and Rec Spa opened August 24th.  Registrations must be made in advance.

Can I bring my own equipment for Lap Swim? 

Yes, however we ask that you ensure all equipment is clean. 

Will there be equipment available to use during Lap Swim? 

Yes, kickboards and pull buoys will be available for use. All equipment will be sanitized after each use. 

Is a face mask required while in the pool? 

Face masks are not to be worn in the pool. However, it is required to wear a face mask before entering the pool and when exiting the pool.

How many individuals may swim in a lane? 

Only one individual per lap lane. 

Can individuals share lap lanes if they are from the same household? 

No, only one individual per lap lane. 

Will there be towels available for checkout? 

Towel service will not be available. Please bring your own clean towel. 

Are locker rooms and showers available? 

Locker rooms and showers will be available with distancing guidelines in place. 

Where can I store my towel and belongings when I swim? 

Personal items may be placed behind each individual lap lane and must be removed when exiting the Natatorium. All personal items left behind while be disposed of at the end of the day. 

Can I rent the Rec Pool for a Birthday Party? 

Rentals in the Rec Pool are canceled until further notice. 

Can I register for Group or Private Swim Lessons? 

Private swim lessons are currently available - please visit our swim lesson page for more information. Group swim lessons are canceled until further notice.

Can I register for an Aquatics/CPR Safety Certification? 

All American Red Cross courses are canceled until further notice.  

Group Fitness

How do I register for a group fitness class? 

To register for a group fitness class, please follow these instructions

How do I cancel my registration for a group fitness class?

If you are no longer able to attend a group fitness class that you pre-registered for, please follow these instructions to remove yourself from the registration.

When can I sign up for a group fitness class? 

You can sign up for any in-person group fitness class 24 hours in advance. Virtual group fitness classes are available for registration 7 days in advance.

How will social distancing be spaced out for in-person classes? 

All class participants are given a 10ft x 10ft space or 100sq/ft to exercise during group fitness classes 

Where will the classes take place?

We will continue to offer classes at both the CRWC and Field House.  To assist with physical distancing, we will move several of our classes down to the gymnasium space so we can serve more participants in a safe manner.

We also are offering virtual options. Outdoor classes for spring 2021 are to be determined.

Will I have access to bathrooms during class? 

All members will have access to bathrooms.

When should I show up to the gym to come to my class? 

We recommend showing up 15-20 minutes early to all classes, to ensure you get through membership check-in, in a timely manner. 

How will the equipment be shared and disinfected for group fitness classes?

Equipment will not be shared throughout a class.  Participants will have their own equipment throughout the entire class.  

After each class, the participant will disinfect the equipment that they used.  Cleaning supplies will be provided.  

Is attending a virtual fitness class an option?

Yes!  We are now offering virtual fitness classes as a part of your membership.  Sign up for a class through our online registration software.  A zoom link will be provided in the description for you to access the class.

If you are a Faculty/Staff member looking to count virtual fitness classes towards your monthly visits, your attendance will be automatically recorded as long as you follow the link provided through your email or the online registration page. 

Is attending an outdoor fitness class an option?

Spring 2021 outdoor classes are to be determined.

Will you be offering mind/body classes? 

Yes, we will have mind/body courses on the group exercise schedule.  Please refer to the group exercise schedule for our offerings. 

How do I guarantee a spot in the class? 

You must register in advance for a spot in any group exercise class.  Please visit our Online Registration Page to sign up.

Can I just walk in to attend a class if it is not full? 

Walk-in’s will not be allowed, even if the class is not full.  We need every individual to register in advance. 

Personal Training  

Can I sign up for Personal Training? 

Yes, we are excited that our nationally-certified personal training team members will be available for training.   

How do I sign up for personal training? 

You still sign up for personal training by visiting our Personal Training Request Form

I can no longer attend a Personal Training session.  How do I cancel my session?

Contact your Personal Trainer to cancel your session. 

How much does personal training cost?   

All of our programming information can be found by visiting our Personal Training Webpage

Can I choose which personal trainer I would like to work with? 

You are always welcome to request to work with certain trainers.  However, at this time, not all of our trainers are available to begin training right away.  It will also depend on your schedule and the trainer's scheduled, and if training times coordinate. 

You can learn more about our teammates on the “MEET THE TRAINERS” page. If the trainer you request is unavailable, we are confident that based on the information you provide and your goals listed, we will be able to find an excellent, highly qualified trainer to help you reach your goals. 

Can I participate in personal training in a private room? 

Yes, during certain times of day we may utilize the group exercise studios to train clients privately (please note, equipment will be limited).  Times will vary and those rooms will need to be reserved in advance by the personal trainer in order to utilize these spaces.   

Will my personal trainer be required to wear a mask? 

Yes, both you and your trainer will be required to wear a mask during your personal training session. 

May a face shield be worn instead of a mask? 

A face shield alone without an accompanying mask will not be permitted. 

Is it still possible to participate in partner training? 

Yes, we will still offer partner training at this time.  Clients must sign up together, as we are unable to match clients together.   

Will I be required to clean all the equipment at the end of my session? 

Yes, in order to keep you and everyone safe, we ask that you clean everything that you utilize during your training session.  All cleaning materials will be provided, and your trainer will work with you at the end of your session to do so.  We thank you for your efforts, as it will help keep our facility open and our members healthy! 

Small Group Training

Will I be able to sign up for small group training? 

Yes, Small Group Training classes will be offered - please visit our specialty fitness page for a list of class options.

How do I sign up for small group training? 

Please visit our Specialty Fitness Programs Page for information on how to register.  

How much does small group training cost?   

Class prices vary. Please visit the Specialty Fitness Programs Page for more information.

Where will small group training classes be held? 

Class locations will vary. Please visit the Specialty Fitness Programs Page for more information.

Will my small group training coach be required to wear a mask? 

At all times coaches and patrons will be required to wear a mask. 

May a face shield be worn instead of a mask? 

A face shield alone without an accompanying mask will not be permitted. 

How will I sign up for an exercise time slot once I register for my small group training class? 

You will not need to sign up for an exercise time slot if you are registered for a small group training class.  By registering for the class, you are automatically registered for that time slot. 

How do I remove myself from a small group training class? 

Participants need to complete the cancellation form if they are no longer interested in participating in a small group training class.  The cancellation form may be found HERE. Please note, not all requests are granted. 

Will I be required to clean all the equipment at the end of my class? 

Yes, in order to keep you and everyone safe, we ask that you clean everything that you utilize during your class.  All materials will be provided, and your coach will work with you at the end of your class to do so.  We thank you for your efforts, as it will help keep our facility open and our members healthy! 

What is the refund policy for small group training classes?

There are no refunds granted three days prior to the first class.

Fit to Go

Is Fit to Go (formerly "Hire an Instructor") an option right now? 

Yes, we are currently offering virtual options.

How do I sign up for the Fit to Go program? 

Please fill out our Fit to Go Form for more information.

Adventure Trips 

Will there be any Adventure Trips this fall? 

We will not be offering any adventure trips until 2021. 


Iowa Raptor Project

Why are masks required at the Iowa Raptor Project, but not in the rest of the Macbride Nature Recreation Area?

Due to the higher chance for individuals to gather in close proximity at the Iowa Raptor Project, masks are required as per UI policy.

Is the IRP open to the public?

The IRP is currently closed until further notice due to storm damage clean up from August 10, 2020.


Lifetime Leisure Skills (LLS) Academic Classes

Will you still offer in-person classes?

Yes, but with several modifications.

For indoor-based classes:

  • Enrollment capacities will be reduced to allow for appropriate distancing in the classroom.
  • Students must wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose.

For outdoor-based classes:

  • The required Wednesday evening class prior to the weekend experience will be conducted via Zoom.
  • The weekend portion of class will be in-person, and will consist of local day-trips only.  There will be no overnight camping.
  • Course locations will be within a 45-minute drive from campus.
  • Students must provide their own transportation, food, water, and a face mask that covers their mouth and nose. 

I think I may be sick, but if I don’t come to class, I won't pass. What should I do?

If you feel ill, do not come to class! Stay home and contact your health care provider. Send an email to your instructor and your advisor to discuss your options. Drop deadlines for courses may be found HERE.


Macbride Nature Recreation Area 

MNRA is currently closed until further notice due to storm damage from August 10, 2020.


Outdoor Rental Center 

Is the Outdoor Rental Center open for equipment rentals?   

The Outdoor Rental Center is currently closed to the public.


UI Challenge Course

Is the challenge course open?

Yes, it is currently open.

Are you accepting reservations for the challenge course?

Yes! We are currently accepting reservations for any program date that will occur on or after August 24. Please visit the UI Challenge Course Webpage to register online.

What practices or policies will be in place to help minimize the risk of spreading or contracting the novel coronavirus?

  • We will have a hand washing station (soap and water) available on-site, as well as hand sanitizer.
  • All participants must wear a face mask that covers their mouth and nose during programming.
  • All shared equipment will be cleaned between programs.
  • Participants should practice physical distancing by keeping at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Any participant who feels ill prior to the date of their program must stay home.
  • Any participant who begins to feel ill during their program must leave immediately.  

What will programs look like with these new policies in place?

Many of the low elements will be unavailable to use, and those that are will be modified to allow for appropriate distancing. Most of the high elements will still be in operation.  


School of the Wild 

Will School of the Wild be taking place? 

This is yet to be determined. Since learning in the outdoors is considered a favorable option for providing instruction during the pandemic, we are working with our school district partners to determine what will need to be done in order to provide a School of the Wild experience for each school.

We will be following the school districts' lead on what measures and protocols to implement, while also taking into account the University of Iowa and CDC guidelines.  

Wildlife Camps at State Parks 

Will you be holding camps in the summer of 2021?

Yes, in the summer of 2021, we intend to hold camps at each of the 20 locations that were scheduled for the summer of 2020.  


Wildlife Camps at MNRA 

Will you hold any camps this summer? 

That is yet to be determined.  We hope to be able to hold many, if not all, of the same programs we offered in years past.

When do you anticipate you will hold camps again? 

This is yet to be determined.

What protocols for COVID-19 precautions will you have in place?

We will follow the protocols the University has in place as well as the CDC and recommendations from The American Camp Association. This will most likely include the use of face masks, social distancing, hand-washing and new transportation protocols.  

Will there be limits on the amount of participants allowed to register for camps? 

There may be limitations for how many campers can register per program.  We will communicate that when we advertise the camp so families know what to expect.  This will be based on recommendations that are most current for the health and well-being of all people involved in our programs.

Will you be offering any programs virtually?

We may try to offer some supplemental elements to our programs virtually, but not programs in their entirety. 

I am interested in Rowing, how can I get involved?

Our programming is limited, but we are finding ways to accommodate new participants.  Please contact our staff to be added to our email list.  As new programming information becomes available, we will contact you.  

What social distancing procedures will be in place?

Rowing is an ideal sport for social distancing, as we can use single-person boats for rowing on the water - and being outside is a bonus!  We can also use rowing machines and host workouts outside with fresh air and appropriate spacing between participants. 

Intramural Sports 

Will in-person Intramural Sports be offered?

Only sports with physical distancing measures in place will be offered. For a full list of in-person and virtual Intramural Sports offerings, please visit our website.

Do I still have to purchase an Intramural Sports membership?

While offerings may be different than in a typical semester, the Intramural Sports program does have costs associated with operation. Because of this, participants will still need to purchase a membership to participate in some in-person sports, however, a variety of options have been created at a lower rate than normal. To view the options, please visit our Intramural Sports Memberships page.

What requirements will participants need to follow to participate for in-person Intramural Sports?

  • For indoor sports, participants will be required to wear a mask at all times while in the facility.
  • For outdoor sports, masks are recommended while in the facility, except during physical activity. 
  • Physical distancing must be maintained at all times. 
  • Participants are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, cough/sneeze into their arms, and stay home if sick. 
  • Some sport rules may be modified to include additional safety considerations. You can view each sport's specific rules on IMLeagues.

Will there be a space provided to participate in Esports leagues?

The University of Iowa does not have a dedicated space for Esports participation. All Intramural Esports will be played remotely. Participants must have the appropriate equipment in order to participate.

What will staff be doing in order to keep participants safe during in-person Intramural Sports activities?

The Sport Programs staff is committed to creating a safe environment for any in-person activity. Staff members will be on-site to ensure participants are following mask-wearing and physical distancing requirements. Additionally, on-site staff will be responsible for cleaning and sanitizing any shared equipment and surfaces.

Will Intramural Sports be hiring any student staff this semester?

Intramural Sports will not be hiring any student staff, as there will be no officiated sports offered.

We look forward to hiring again for the Fall 2021 semester. If you are interested in becoming an Intramural Sports official, please visit our Becoming an Official webpage. Fill out an application now, and we will reach to you as we get closer to the Fall 2021 semester!

Will normal Intramural Sports programming resume in spring 2021?

At this time, intramural sports programming will continue to operate similar to the programming in the fall semester.


Sport Clubs

What will Sport Clubs be allowed to do?

Sport Clubs are permitted to participate in activities, but must adhere to university COVID-19 guidelines. Some clubs have chosen to be inactive, while some may be participating in individually-approved practice activities. For specific information on which clubs are active, email us at

What will funding look like for the 2020-2021 school year?

Funding will not be available for Sport Clubs through Recreational Services in 2020-2021.

Are Sport Clubs accepting new members?

Each club’s process for accepting new members is different. For more information on a specific club, visit the Sport Clubs website, click on “Active Clubs” to find the club in which you are interested. Message that club’s officers for more information. 

Can I reserve a court to play tennis? 

Yes. Both our indoor and outdoor tennis courts can be reserved.  

Are there any special rules on the indoor courts?

Yes. When playing indoors the white divider curtains will be closed to help avoid tennis balls going on to an adjacent court. Please enter the court area specifically for your court.  Please do not switch sides of the court. Additionally, face coverings are required at all times inside the facility.

Will you be offering Cardio Tennis or Group Lessons? 

Yes, we are offering Cardio Tennis lessons. Please check our website for class offerings. Registration is required in advance with Sign-Up Genius. Please contact Mili Veselinovic to be added to our email list and to get the link to register.

How do I schedule a Private Lesson?  

To request a private lesson, please go to this link to fill out a Private Lesson Request Form.

Do I need to wear a mask?  

Yes, patrons are required to wear a mask the entire time they are in the facility, including while playing indoors. Players do not need to wear a mask while playing tennis outdoors, however they will be required for travel to and from their courts.

What safety protocols will be in place for tennis players? 

Among the many safety procedures, we will be offering: 

  • Marked walking pathways to and from the courts 
  • Social distancing markers throughout the facility 
  • Hand sanitizer stations available
  • Employees will have masks and plexiglass at check in 
  • Masks will be required for patrons while indoors and going to and from the courts 
  • Tennis equipment will be wiped down before and after each lesson, and each full-time coach will have their own carts of tennis balls 
  • Signage with USTA suggested safety measures while on court 

Can I pay for my court or private lesson ahead of time? 

Yes, you may pay ahead of time by calling (319) 384-1215.  

Can I watch my kid's private lesson or watch them play?

Yes.  Masks will be required indoors at the HTRC (including the indoor courts) as well as to and from the outdoor courts.  If you cannot practice social distancing while outside, please wear a mask.  Please bring your own chair (place on cement only) as our bleachers will not be available).

Can I rent the ball machine?

Yes.  Please ask the front desk for safety protocols. 

How can I keep updated with any changes to programming or other on goings at HTRC? 

Programming information is shared via:  

Recreational Services COVID-19 facility and program updates

For the most up to date information on faciltiies and programming affected by COVID-19, please visit our COVID-19: Facility and Program Updates page.