Originally published June 5, 2020 in the Sun Journal.

By Daryn Slover

Online school or real school?

If you chose online, your on the hook for 30 seconds of jumping jacks.

Stationary lunges if you choose real.

Christy Keep went for lunges.

Auburn Middle School PE teacher Christy Keep does leg raises Friday while hosting "This or That Workout: Middle School Edition" during Virtual Field Day from her home in Auburn. Keep's dog, Bentley, watches from the sofa. Photo by Daryn Slover/Sun Journal.

Welcome to Virtual Field Day for Auburn Middle School students.

“This is my first year teaching physical education and one thing I was looking forward to was Field Day,” said Keep.

Prior to the coronavirus, field days were held during the last week of school for many students across Maine. Kids would sign up for various activities such as potato sack races, water balloon toss, riding mountain bikes and kick ball games.

Not this year. Field Day was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And then it wasn’t.

“I figured out how to do Field Day by Zoom,” said Keep.

Seventh and eighth graders played games with eggs, made kites, went on a scavenger hunt and made friendship bracelets.

All by laptop, tablet, cellphone or whatever device teenagers are using these days.

Fifteen middle school teachers created 20 events that kids could participate in between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., relatively close to a normal school day.

“This or That Workout: Middle School Edition” was one of three events hosted by Keep.

Hunger Games or Harry Potter ? Basketball or soccer ? Rap music or pop ? Starbucks or Dunkin ? Online school or real school ?

Pick one answer and you may be doing planks for 30 seconds. Pick another and you may have to suffer through push ups.

“Go get your gym shoes,” Keep told her Zoom audience. “Your going to need to work for this one.”

Seventh graders Emma Meserve, Connor Thayer and Nora Condit stuck with Keep through the entire 20-minute workout. One student signed on and then clicked out once he realized physical activity was involved.

“Mrs. Keep, do you have bangs now?” asked one student.

“Yes, I cut my own hair,” said Keep. “Don’t do it. I don’t recommend it,” Keep said about cutting her own hair.

“Can I get a snack real quick,” asked another. “Yes,” answered Keep.

Field Day was not the only virtual activity happening on the last day of school on Friday.

A virtual talent show was held as well.

But instead of lip-syncing to Alice Cooper’s lyrics “School’s out for Summer,” music teacher Alfred Hipkins sang his own rendition.

“Schools out for COVID,” sang Hipkins.

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    Virus restrictions call for virtual Field Day at Auburn Middle School
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    Virus restrictions call for virtual Field Day at Auburn Middle School
    From exercise to potato sack races and water balloon tossing, students celebrated the last week of school with their teachers online.
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