Originally published May 14, 2020 by Cleveland.com.
By John Benson
For a brief second on Wednesday (May 13), it seemed like one of those beautiful spring days in Northeast Ohio where kids were outside playing on the front lawn.
However, COVID-19 has changed everything, including remote learning for students who aren’t getting nearly as much exercise as they would be playing sports or taking gym class.
Considering that May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, Lakewood City Schools decided to schedule a districtwide outdoor gym class. The district invited its more than 3,000 elementary and middle school students — as well as family members — to participate in an all-city activity in front of their homes doing their favorite physical activity or sport.
“We usually do something within the school to celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, but this year with us all being out of school, we thought it would be nice to get all of the kids and parents involved in an activity,” said Garfield Middle School physical education teacher Harry Manos, who came up with the idea for the outdoor fun.
“I have three kids at home spending their days in front of Chromebook, so I know the importance of getting everyone up and moving,” Manos said.
The all-city activity took place at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Lakewood City Schools physical education teachers and staff drove around the community, checking in on the active students and sharing the moments on social media.
This included the acrobatic feats of Roosevelt Elementary School fourth-grader Kara Laidley.
But kids weren’t the only ones enjoying the physical activity. Parent Katie Potoczak, who has an eighth-grader at Garfield Middle School and a fifth-grader at Roosevelt Elementary School, was happy to see her daughters getting outside for some volleyball fun.
“During these times of being at home all day, our kids are missing their sports and their physical activity,” Potoczak said. “Continuing to stay active is more important now, as sports have been canceled and there is no physical education class.
“It’s been inspiring to see teenage girls be so excited to go to physical education class, especially at the middle school level. The kids have been looking forward to this day — especially the chance to see each other and get some of their energy out.”
The Doup family was also outside taking part in the celebration.
“During the past weeks of being somewhat forced to think outside the box, our family started playing corn hole about two times a week,” Meghan Doup said.
“We’re a family of eight, and it’s a great game that we can all play. It’s fun to be together and have friendly competition — most of the time.”