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How the Pandemic has Transformed PE

  • February 17, 2021 

In March of 2020, many schools around the world went under lockdown due to the spread of COVID-19, forcing students and teachers everywhere to adapt to a virtual environment. While online learning does come with benefits, such as having a more flexible schedule, many would agree that learning or teaching digitally can be challenging - especially for classes like physical education.

Screen Shot 2021-02-16 at 12.01.40

Photo obtained from CBS8

PE has changed radically in the pandemic. How did we go from doing jumping jacks outside as a class, to individually doing pushups in front of a camera, during a zoom meeting? As a result of the restrictions on social gatherings, sports such as badminton, soccer, basketball, kickball, and volleyball, that would typically be covered in a PE class, are not able to be taught this year.

Instead, “a typical virtual class would include using the physical education textbook, social emotional learning videos and having the students exercise,” said Freshman PE teacher Mr. Rim. 


“I try [to] balance the amount of lecture time, workout time and videos we watch. The videos created are updated every so often and the exercises will concentrate on different body parts. Music is played during the workouts and I do the exercises along with the students.”

However, PE teachers sometimes face difficulties with participation in their classes as some students may refuse to turn on their cameras, or place their cameras at an angle at which only a portion of their faces are shown. “If a student has no interest in exercising, then it is difficult [to keep them engaged in class].”

With limitations on gathering in public spaces, such as gyms and parks, getting exercise has become inconvenient, and therefore disregarded by many. However, being stuck at home all day - sitting in a chair and in front of a screen - makes it even more important for people to maintain a healthy lifestyle. For students, attending PE class twice a week is not enough for keeping them in good shape, and meeting national guidelines for getting sufficient exercise would require working out at least 60 minutes a day on days without classes. This hour would include strength training, (20 minutes) of vigorous aerobic activity, and stretching.

For some, these requirements may seem daunting, but even stepping outside for a few minutes and taking a short walk would make energy levels soar, boost metabolism, burn calories, and clear your mind!

Exercising has also been proven to:

  • Slow the aging process

  • Maintain healthy weight levels

  • Strengthen bones

  • Combat health conditions and diseases

  • Keep you feeling at your best

  • Improve mood

  • And promote better sleep

For anyone who wishes to lead a more active lifestyle, Mr. Rim recommends starting slow, and gradually building on your skill level.“Try to pick exercises or activities that [you] like to do and areas [you] want to concentrate on. Set a routine on the time and day. Plan out an exercise regime and what [you] want to accomplish. Reevaluate the plan and routine based on outcomes.”

So whether it means riding a bike around your neighborhood, lifting weights at home, or playing a sport outside (make sure to stay safe if with a friend), there are numerous ways for you to keep in shape in quarantine. Just make sure to find what works for you, and what you enjoy doing; it is easier to be consistent with something that you look forward to everyday. “I hope my class gets the students to [start] thinking and acting on maintaining good physical fitness for a lifetime,” said Mr. Rim.

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