By Zohd Khan
As the preeminent crisis of our time, COVID-19 has hampered the lives of Californians across the West Coast, and quarantine has left many people stuck in their rooms, glued to their computer screens with no sight of the outdoors.
Exceedingly aware of this matter, Davis city officials are pushing for opportunities to gradually engage city residents with physical activity through these desperate times.
At Wednesday evening’s Recreation and Park Commission (RPC) meeting, Community Services Assistant Director Christine Helweg highlighted the priority of making the public active without applying any restraints that would discourage them from committing to an activity.
She provided an update on park and recreation services, stating that certain youth and adult sports programs were granted permission to resume last week through the acquisition of permits. However, in order to gain permission to access park facilities, sports groups are required to adhere to a “COVID Checklist,” which would follow Yolo County and State Health Orders.
Furthermore, sports teams are permitted to resume in the fall under stringent guidelines. Helweg stated that use of the indoor and outdoor facilities is only for conditioning, exercising or other distanced activities. No scrimmages are allowed as they do not fall in line with county guidelines.
Additional efforts to promote youth activity include the introduction of afterschool programming, or what Helweg referred to as “Recess Time.” The Recess Time program allows families to register their children into “pods” or groups where their children could play together while remaining masked and socially distanced.
Parents are allowed to sign up their children in a pod with their friends or enter their kids into a pre-existing pod with available space. This program provides parents with yet another alternative to ensuring that their children receive an adequate amount of physical activity.
As it pertains to the elderly, Helweg explained that the commission is striving to promote activity among our seniors as well. Such efforts include the implementation of senior fitness programs, which range from in-person exercise to virtual fitness activities, allowing seniors flexibility in choosing how they would like to approach their workouts.
Other residents not affiliated with a specific sport may apply for City Recreational Groups, whether it be physical or virtual. According to the City of Davis Adaptive Recreation Team (CDART), “Recreation groups will be limited to 12 participants with six-foot distancing and masks will be required.” For those who desire remote means of socialization, CDART plans to host virtual hangouts via Zoom, where participants will engage in “online social hour”.
Although the committee has given immense effort in trying to open up facilities to the general public, some locations or activities remain inaccessible at this time. Picnic Facility Reservations will stay closed for at least the remainder of the year, as they do not meet the physical distancing requirements and do not provide any source of physical activity.
Several other facilities will be converted to designated voting centers for the upcoming presidential election. These facilities include the Davis Veteran’s Memorial Center as well as some church and school facilities.
Near the end of the RPC meeting, Helweg acknowledged a new joint initiative between UC Davis and the Davis Health Department known as the “Healthy Davis Together Initiative.” The ultimate goal of the project is to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in Davis and work to reintegrate students back into school.
More information regarding the initiative is scheduled to roll out in the upcoming weeks.