Campus Recreation reminds patrons that masking is required in all facilities

August 27, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State Campus Recreation may be forced to impose a moratorium on access to its facilities, including the IM Building, White Building, and Hepper Fitness Center, unless compliance with the University’s indoor masking requirement significantly increases in these facilities soon.

Penn State now requires everyone, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask inside all University buildings. Campus recreation facilities are enforcing that requirement upon entry to the building and distributing masks to anyone who needs one.

In addition, each facility has visible signage and regular announcements to remind patrons of the policy. Campus Recreation staff, including student staff, continually walk through the facilities to remind patrons of the policy and ask them to replace their masks. More than 75 patrons have been asked to leave the facilities in just two days for failure to wear a mask.

Compliance with the mask mandate in other facilities on campus has generally been consistent with the University’s expectations; Campus Recreation facilities are an outlier. Campus Recreation’s patrons include students, faculty, and staff and no one group has demonstrated better compliance.

“In other campus settings, faculty, staff, and students alike are generally complying with the mask mandate, and the return to in-person activities is going well,” said Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs. “But the exception has been found in our Campus Recreation facilities. We understand the challenge masking poses for those using these facilities, but the health of both participants and staff members demands that we enforce the mask expectation as clearly and reasonably as we can, and those using these facilities must do their part.”

Campus Recreation, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, will continue to monitor mask wearing in the facilities and will make a decision on closing if there is a significant disregard for mask wearing. In addition, patrons who disregard the mask requirement may be subject to other sanctions, such as removal from the building, referral to student conduct (for student patrons) or revoking of membership.

Student Affairs has consulted the Student Leaders Roundtable and will reach out to both the Faculty Senate and the Staff Council for consultation on this issue. Public Health Ambassadors will be deployed to remind recreation participants about this expectation and the possibility of a moratorium on access if it is not honored. Although everything that can reasonably be done to compel compliance will be, the threat of closure is real will be implemented, if necessary, as a last resort.

Last Updated August 27, 2021