Originally published July 27, 2020 by KOAM News Now.

By Jacob Lenard

This year is an unusual challenge for teachers in the face of COVID-19 – including physical education teachers.

“It’s just hard to know what we’ll be able to do with our kids. What equipment we can use, how big our classes are going to be,” says Iola Middle School PE teacher Cristy Turner.

With some schools set to re-open to in-person instruction, PE teachers are having to re-imagine what gym class looks like, changing plans to adhere to social distancing and equipment sharing guidelines.

“Middle school curriculum for me is a lot of team sports. Football, volleyball and that kind of stuff,” Turner adds, “It will probably be a lot more skill-based, like every kid has their own piece of equipment and we’re teaching skills and doing stuff like that rather than the games that we normally do.”

“There’s different ways we can go around teaching those same concepts to kids,” says Blake Burns, Columbus PE teacher, “but we can do it in more of a small group or individualized setting.”

For some, the pandemic provides a chance to hammer home important physical education lessons.

“Like the hygiene piece of things, we always mention that to our kids, especially our younger kids, but it’s something that has a little bit more effect now,” Burns adds, “I think it’s going to be one of those things that will stick with kids now.”

Regardless of what it looks like, these teachers say PE is important, and they’ll do what they need to do to give the kids the skills they need.

“Even if they’re online, in person or whatever it is, the kids need to be active,” Turner finishes, “It’s a life skill that they really need. So I feel like it’s definitely my job to give them the tools and give them the resources to still be able to do that, no matter what.”

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