Originally published Jan. 20, 2021 in The News-Enterprise.

By Andrew Harp

Physical education classes in Hardin County and Elizabethtown Independent Schools districts have continued in both non-traditional instruction and the current hybrid schedule.

Both districts have now returned to in-person classes after one week of NTI at the start of the second semester.

Scott Mays, PE teacher at North Hardin High School in Radcliff, said the element of accountability was an aspect that was difficult to work with when non-traditional instruction first came about.

Mays said he would go over knowledge concepts and give them written work along with assigning them an activity log for different workouts. Students would then complete a questionnaire.

“It’s harder to replicate that same kind of energy of a bunch of people being in a ... physical space and working out or playing a sport or whatever the case may be,” Mays said

Lucas White, PE teacher at Helmwood Heights Elementary School, began NTI with a choice board through Google Classroom for his students.

White said he would implement different activities that students had to complete a certain amount of. However, he said it was difficult for him to know if they were or were not completing the activities.

From there, White decided to do away with the choice board for a bit and instead began implementing the application Flipgrid. With it, students can create and send videos of them completing activities. He said he also began sending YouTube videos demonstrating home activities that can be done with household items.

When in-person class returned, White was going outside quite a bit with students when the weather was appropriate.

However, inside of the school, there are more rules to follow including sanitation of equipment and facilities. White said he also has spots on the floor in the gym to indicate social distancing.

Inside the gym, students do warm-up exercises, stretching, aerobics, and other activities and workouts that don’t require a lot of equipment. He said students have been disappointed they can’t play certain games and activities such as dodgeball, but overall students are glad to be back in school.

“They’re just excited to come to gym because … the whole day they are in front of the computer screen,” White said.

During the hybrid schedule, Mays said activities are limited to about 15 to 25 activities and sports that follow COVID-19 restrictions.

Certain sports such as basketball, hockey, and handball are unable to be played. But others such as racquet sports and soccer are suitable.

“A lot of the things that we’re doing are still kind of on a limited basis, but it is much better,” Mays said.

Mays said students have been understanding and follow restrictions but can get mask breaks if they feel it’s necessary. He said he’s looking forward to all the students coming back.

Mays said he thinks younger staff members at the school have done a good job with teaching other teachers, including himself, technology, and pushing him out of his comfort zone to learn new things.

Jessica Gunby, physical education teacher and athletic director at North Middle School, said in an email choice boards were implemented during NTI, with each day of the week being a different focus, and providing students with a variety of no equipment workout videos.

Each day, students completed one workout from a list of workouts. Then, they would have to answer reflection questions about the workouts and submit them in Google Classroom.

Since in-person classes came back, they’ve implemented safety precautions including masks, wearing gloves, and sanitation. She said students have been understanding.

“They know and understand that if they cannot wear their mask properly, they will not be allowed to participate but will receive an alternate assignment focused on the same standard,” Gunby said.

For outdoor, in-person activities, she said classes have been playing a variety of yard games such as ladder golf and cornhole. She said she also received a donation of 6-foot PVC pipes to play human foosball, and classes also have a set of yoga mats, which both allow for social distancing.

“I have learned that our students are resilient. I know and understand that face-to-face instruction is always best for our students, but I also truly believe that the resilience that they have had to show during this pandemic has taught them so many valuable lessons that will help them be successful throughout the course of their lives,” Gunby said in the email.

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