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Virtual PE focuses on student wellness

Updated: Oct 15, 2020

By Keirah Chen and Pavana Upadhyaya Oct. 14, 2020

Nicole Kim Art

As a result of the transition to online learning, physical education (PE) courses have been forced to adapt alongside traditional classes. Teachers instructing through WebEx have decided to focus on more than just fitness exercises. For instance, lessons expand on how cardiorespiratory endurance positively impacts the lungs and heart. Other lessons cover how yoga calms the mind, decreases blood pressure and strengthens muscles. Pamela Headley, Athletic Department, is excited about the change.

“The pandemic seemed like an ideal time to teach students how to set up a fitness plan for themselves due to the absence of sports and fitness classes. Exercise can trigger a physiological response to help manage stress, which is important with everything going on in the world,” Headley said.

The change in curriculum has been well received by many students. Sophomore Tammy Newman views the change as very beneficial during these challenging times.

“The focus of PE has shifted to general health, rather than traditional sports. I see this as a huge advantage because it has really helped me relieve stress in the mornings,” Newman said.

“The pandemic seemed like an ideal time to teach students how to set up a fitness plan for themselves due to the absence of sports and fitness classes." - Pamela Headley, Athletic Department

Moving PE online has also created its fair share of challenges. Like other classes, internet bandwidth difficulties have made communication much harder. Playing team games like capture the flag are also infeasible. Not everyone has enough space to exercise either; on days where the focus is on cardiorespiratory endurance, instead of running laps, students jog in place. For many, online PE class is not as enjoyable as the traditional version since it does not offer the same atmosphere of past classes. Normally, students could interact in a social environment, but online PE is more focused on individual lessons, activities and workouts. “Online PE is a lot less appealing because we cannot exercise with friends. Since it feels like I am not really at school, my motivation has gone down a little,” Freshman Vanessa Burriesci said.

Because of these challenges, teachers were worried about participation. With in-person activities, teachers could actively encourage students to participate. Fortunately though, students seem to be participating to the best of their ability. “I’m happy to say, students are participating well and making it work considering their situations and it helps that we have a lot more flexibility this year.” Headley said.

A point of concern is also the absence of a First Aid and CPR unit for this school year. A mandatory unit for graduation, the First Aid and CPR certification requires students to have access to both a swimming pool and a CPR dummy, which most students do not have access to.

Overall though, both the district and students have been flexible during these circumstances. According to Headley, the year is going well so far. “Considering what we are all going through, students have been very flexible. We are making it work and providing some quality fitness and wellness learning opportunities. And burpees!” Headley said.


About the Contributors

Keirah Chen

Staff Writer

Keirah Chen is a sophomore at Leland high school and is a staff writer. She likes going places with friends and watching horror movies.

Pavana Upadhyaya

Staff Writer

Pavana Upadhyaya is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a staff writer. She likes to read nonfiction in her free time

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