Originally published Nov. 9, 2020 by 13CBS Sacramento.

By Marlee Ginter

It’s not easy keeping kids active during the pandemic. Distance learning has many in front of a screen for hours every day.

That’s why physical education class couldn’t be more critical. So when the pandemic shut things down, Sammie Clevenger stepped things up.

Clevenger is a PE teacher at John Cabrillo Elementary School in Sacramento. She decided this was no time to back off of physical activity with little ones.

“It’s the biggest thing for the kids right now, just to focus on this outlet of movement and knowing that we’re still together in this way,” said Clevenger.

But that’s not every PE teacher’s approach. For many, parents simply have to sign off in Google Classroom that their child did 30 minutes of some physical activity during the day.

Emereti Martinez knows the effects of the pandemic after seeing it have an impact on her children.

“My youngest one was sad and just depressed,” said Martinez.

She wants to make sure her children stay active and above all, mentally healthy. Her daughter, Jalisa, is one of Clevenger’s students participating in live PE classes online twice a week. It’s more than a daily physical activity log and the results are much more than a good grade.

“We used paper plates as frisbees, we used water bottles just as a challenge, just anything we can find around our house we’re using,” said Clevenger.

“It makes me feel happy, healthy and energized,” said Jalisa.

That’s an A+ in any parent’s book.

“Honestly, it makes me feel really grateful having her. We don’t know what we’d do without her,” said Martinez.

“Just their reaction to being on a screen together and doing a workout still is really relieving,” said Clevenger.

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