By now you’re likely familiar with the federal relief funding that was passed help schools reopen safely. The funding can be used to purchase PPE, sanitation products, and other items to keep students and faculty safe. In addition to safety items, the funding can also be used to support your Health and Physical Education program through addressing learning loss and using equipment that keeps students physically distant.
Continue reading to learn how federal relief funding can be used to support your PE program!
Physical Education offers unique challenges for keeping students safe. In order to provide effective PE, equipment must be used to teach skills and keep students engaged. The CDC recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and prohibits sharing “gym or physical education equipment”.
Many districts have used federal relief funding to provide teachers with
sanitation sprayers and wipes to sanitize equipment between classes. Teachers have purchased large bins (or kiddie pools) for students to place used
equipment in. After class, they sanitize the equipment in the bucket or pool, allow it to dry, then move it over to the clean bucket for the next class period
to use. Other teachers may have students sanitize their own equipment or wait to sanitize equipment at the end of the day.
Sanitation stations can also be set up near the entrance and exit of the gym to make it easy for students to apply sanitizer before and after PE.
The most effective way to limit equipment sharing is to provide students with personal equipment packs. My PE Packs include a personal drawstring bag that students can take with them. This is a great way for students to continue to develop skills and participate in a safe way.
Students can also bring equipment packs anywhere. Whether they are participating in PE at home, in a classroom/gym, or outside. Instruction can remain consistent and you can ensure quality PE everywhere.
If your district has not provided you with the tools needed to keep yourself and students safe in PE, it’s important that you develop a plan and reach out to your PE leader or administrator for support.
The CDC recommends students stay 6-feet apart when feasible or having sneeze guards or partitions between students at all times. Many activities in PE require students to be active and work together, keeping them 6-feet apart at all times during PE is nearly impossible. Here are a few ways to help!
Cones, floor tape, and barriers can be used to develop one-way routes and safe movement areas. Teachers can also use hula hoops, poly spots and floor tape to create individual activity areas that students must stay in throughout the class period.
Within these individual areas, students can work on a variety of activities including cardio drumming, dance, hand-eye coordination, speed and agility, and fitness. Sport skills including soccer, basketball, racket sports, floor hockey, and volleyball can also be practiced individually.
Establishing guidelines and expectations early on is crucial. We also recommend reinforcing those expectations with messaging around your learning area to remind students of safe practices.
There are many creative solutions for Physical Education including banners, spot markers, decals, and signs to encourage safe practices. The PE Healthy Habits banner shares 8 top tips for staying healthy during PE. Below you’ll find a few more examples of messaging that can help keep students safe.
In 2015, when the United States passed ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act), it was the intention of our government officials to provide students with a well-rounded education, with the “purpose of providing all students access to an enriched curriculum and educational experience.”
Nearly six years later, after students have been practicing distance learning for a full year, the government passed funding to open schools and address learning loss. This includes Physical Education. There is no greater and important loss that can take place than the loss of health and wellness. Students are spending more time on screens during distance learning and less time being active. Many are not getting 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day recommended by the CDC. Quality Physical Education in our schools is more important now than ever.
When students return to school, it is crucial to address this learning loss by providing quality PE and measuring its effectiveness, and ESSER I, II, and III funding can help.
In order to mitigate learning loss, it is important to ensure the time spent in physical education is productive and active. We encourage implementing instant activities, fitness stations, and following a credible evidence-based curriculum.
Here is a list of equipment that can be used to get students moving instantly with little instruction:
Over the past year, students have had the flexibility to learn on their own time. As students return to school, it will be difficult for them to adjust to a more structured schedule. Classroom activity breaks are a great way to refresh, clear the mind, and get ready for the next lesson. Address learning loss and ease the transition to traditional learning by supporting teachers with classroom activity breaks.
Physical activity is more important now than ever before. Due to COVID-19, teaching Physical Education has been challenging. We want to help you make PE safe, fun, and active! Connect with us to learn how to advocate for federal funding to help assist your program needs. If you’re looking to further develop your PE plan, but need some additional support, we want to help!
This article is for informational purposes only. We encourage you to develop a plan and start a conversation with your PE leader or administration to find ways federal funding can help address the needs of your PE program.
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