P.E. classes run on despite challenging circumstances

Students+make+up+a+missed+workout.

Ewan Bickford

Students make up a missed workout.

   The pandemic has affected every aspect of our daily lives at school, whether it be teaching or learning. One of the classes that has been hit the hardest is P.E. class.

   One of the biggest changes to P.E. this year is the way the class has been handled for remote students. Because remote students cannot actually go into school to workout, students have to participate through a Google Meet virtual workout.

   “Sometimes people don’t turn their camera on or sometimes teachers aren’t even looking and there are so many ways that you could outsmart the system,” said Davinci Cabrera, in-person sophomore.

   Another issue with the virtual workouts is that many students have had numerous technical difficulties with district-issued Chromebooks ever since school started on September 8.

   “I can’t even participate because my computer isn’t working…,” said a remote anonymous sophomore. “I think that they should’ve dropped the class, at least for remote students. They could’ve introduced something different, or made Health two semesters…. P.E. is cool, but it shouldn’t be a class for remote students.”

   Teachers often also have to deal with tech issues, which makes it frustrating for them to teach students.

   “Working through technology issues has been a headache,” said Mr. Chris Yerk, P.E. teacher. “We do the best with what we have and continue to teach to the best of our ability. Also, working with families and students to attend school when scheduled has been tough, but it is getting better.”

   A lot of teachers and students are opposed to the new schedule that was put in place on February 1. P.E. teachers understand the struggle of the shortened class periods because there is less time to get the kids the workout that they need.

   “Shortened class times have been a challenge this year,” said Mrs. Christine Riemer, P.E. teacher. “We are not able to build the relationships with our students like we have been able to in the past.”

   Students in P.E. classes, both in-person and remotely, feel that they do not get enough exercise with this new schedule change.

   “I feel like I am not getting the full workout like I would in in-person,” said Keigan Noel, remote sophomore.

   Ever since the schedule change, teachers have had less time to prepare for classes. This especially applies to P.E. classes.

   “We don’t have as much prep time in-between each class too, which has made it more difficult for us especially being that our schedule is a true hybrid model now,” said Mrs. Riemer.

   The pandemic has made it more and more difficult for P.E. teachers to come up with safe activities that students enjoy.

   “The activities may not be the students’ favorites,” said Mr. Yerk. “We are very limited and trying our best with the restrictions that are placed upon us… We can’t use equipment that goes from person to person during an activity. Which eliminates volleyball, basketball, handball, soccer, and football. Unfortunately, these are most Guilford students’ favorite PE activities. I will say that most of our students have done a great job adapting to the changes that are necessary for us to continue to teach our classes.”

Students practice badminton skills during a choice day. (Ewan Bickford)

   The pandemic has also made it so that students cannot change clothes because being in close proximity with other students can put other students at the risk. Nonetheless, the lack of changing is difficult for in-person students.

   “We hope at the beginning of next year w e would be able to use the locker room and have students change for class,” said Mr. Yerk. “Using the PE uniform allows us to let the students be more active in class as well.”

   Everyone is wondering whether or not the pandemic will bring permanent changes to the way the world is run. P.E. is a class that could have some of those changes after COVID-19 positivity rates start to go down and after everything starts going back to normal.

   “I am not sure if any of the changes will become permanent,” said Mr. Yerk. “I would think we will be more cognizant of cleaning and sanitizing the equipment that we use for class.”

   With all of the negativity that the pandemic has brought to P.E. classes, there is still some light. Some students say that the new schedule makes it easier for them to stay on top of working out everyday.

   “I wouldn’t change anything about the Google Meet workouts,” said Noel. “I feel like the teachers have made it easy and manageable.”

   There is also a reportedly higher amount of students that are participating in P.E. this year in comparison to years prior.

   “There has been more consistency with our students participating than in the past,” said Mrs. Riemer. “…students don’t have to change for class and our remote students feel more comfortable working out in their own homes than at school.”

   Even though this year has been very tough on everybody at school, P.E. teachers feel that students are handling the changes very well.

   “I will say that most of our students have done a great job adapting to the changes that are necessary for us to continue to teach our classes,” said Mr. Yerk.