Now more than ever, it’s important for students to remain active, and pay attention to their physical and mental health.
But how will health and physical education be taught during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?
Kathleen Wright, a health and physical education specialist with Polk County Public Schools, shared some insight into how students — whether on campus or online — will continue to learn how to stay fit and healthy.
– For face-to-face instruction, individual pursuits and skills will be the focal point rather than traditional team sports or activities. Many activities require no physical contact and do not need students to be in close physical proximity to each other.
– Class sizes will be reduced, and each class will have their own location where students and teachers can respect physical distance guidelines.
– When outside, face coverings are optional for students and teachers if social distancing can be ensured. If social distancing is not feasible within the activity, then face coverings will be worn.
– Face coverings are required for students and teachers in any indoor facilities, including gymnasiums, locker rooms, weight rooms, and multipurpose rooms. Social distancing guidelines will still be followed when feasible for each activity.
– Teachers will monitor students wearing face coverings to ensure their level of physical exertion is safe.
– When using indoor facilities, doors and windows will be open when feasible to maximize circulation and air flow.
– The use of PE equipment will be limited to items that can be easily and effectively sanitized between class periods. Equipment being passed or shared by multiple students throughout a class period will be eliminated.
– Students should come to school dressed in clothing that is appropriate for participating in PE. Students are not permitted to change into separate clothing.
– Drinking fountains will be cleaned and sanitized frequently. Students will be encouraged to use individual water bottles where feasible.
– Hand sanitizer will be readily available for students to use as needed.
Elementary and secondary students attending Campus eSchool — an online learning option for the 2020-21 school year — will continue to receive PE, health and nutrition lessons even as they’re temporarily pursuing their education from home.
Students will access their online lessons during a specified time.
Teachers will be using videos to break down skills and activities. They will also suggest common household items that can safely be substituted for equipment being used at school.
“Our teachers are experimenting with fun GIFs and Bitmojis to keep our young students’ attention, and help them maneuver through the online learning with minimal help from their parents,” Wright said. “However, parents are encouraged to participate in activities whenever they’re able to do so. A large part of physical education is socialization combined with movement. As adults, we make social connections when we exercise — whether it’s walking with a friend, playing a recreational sport on a team, or being motivated by other people in an exercise class. Social connections keep us moving.”
Kindergartners, first-graders and second-graders will have directions read to them, and demonstration videos within their lessons. Students in third through fifth grade will have lessons in print with video demonstrations, but they also have the option of directions being read to them.
Just like a traditional campus, middle and high school students will have some days where they will be focusing more on classwork, covering different health and wellness concepts. However, they will also have days where they’re more physically active.
All students should be dressed properly for physical activities, including wearing appropriate footwear. They should have adequate space to move that is free of tripping hazards.
Students will be encouraged to hydrate often, and reminded to exercise at a comfortable level of effort.