By Kevin LloydThe International School Recovery Forum recently sat together with seven International Schools Physical Education leaders. The purpose was to discuss how to continue Physical Education with the restrictions coming from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The discussion covered available space, time limitations, learning criteria, teacher availability, adapting and communications. This is a summary of their recommendations on how to manage the challenges.
Participating schools included:
Anglo American School Moscow International School Düsseldorf American School of London Copenhagen International School Sreenidhi International School & Sreenidhi Sports Academy Zurich International School American School of Barcelona
By Kevin LloydINTRODUCTION
When schools closed early for Easter in March 2020, no one knew when they would open their doors again. Some felt that they would start as usual in late April, with the tacit expectation that the summer term would look similar to all the years that had preceded it. Within a few weeks, public exams had been abandoned for the year, and it was clear that the term would start substantially later than planned, if at all. Many schools had taken advantage of the Government’s Job Retention Scheme to defray the cost of workers no longer required. The word “furlough” had entered the public vocabulary.
The impact upon sport was similarly rapid and dramatic. The final stages of national competitions due to be played in late March were cancelled. By mid- April all National Governing Bodies (NGBs) had suspended sport at every level, from grassroots to international. Most initially set review dates, but followed up with “until further notice” declarations, many of which still apply. Desperate attempts are underway to try to restore professional sport, especially in Soccer, Cricket and Rugby as these games are haemorrhaging money in the absence of televised competition. The Olympic Games has been postponed for a year, for the first time in its history.
The implications for independent schools are enormous, and potentially catastrophic. The future of the sector is threatened. All are desperate to restore operations as early as can safely be managed, with whatever restrictions are necessary. There is a race to get back towards something recognisable, partly to address educational omissions, but also to justify fees. Sport and physical activity are a critical part of this. They are a distinguishing feature of the sector’s identity, and a central part of its business case. Also, they are the area of school life that will find it most difficult to accommodate travel, distancing and hygiene restrictions. The impact of the pandemic may influence the character of school sport forever. This could be either a positive or negative thing, depending upon how it is handled. It is vital that schools develop a coherent plan to handle the various stages of the process if they are to emerge with a programme that meets the needs of pupils, and is attractive to a potentially shrinking market.
All contingency planning is based on an assumption that the pandemic will have an enduring, though diminishing, legacy. In a rapidly changing landscape, all expectations are conditional. Medical developments, especially the availability of a vaccine, treatment or antibody test, would change everything. Schools must hope for this, but plan for the alternatives. This plan will recognise the three stages of recovery.
How to use this document:
1. This document has been prepared for a New Zealand context, based on public health guidelines and our NZ Government Alert Levels. If using this for a different country, please adapt accordingly, and follow your own guidelines.
2. Senior leaders, HOD’s, HPE leaders and teachers can engage with these guidelines and ideas.
3. Please note, there are different Ministry of Health Guidelines for Early Childhood Centres (ECC). The nature of an Early Childhood Centre is very different, and therefore all ‘toys’, ‘equipment’, and spacing rules need to be considered and adhered to. As children in ECC’s are moving most of the time, we believe there is no need to treat the ‘physical activity context’ any differently to the guidelines on general play or handling of toys] etc. Therefore, the suggestions in this document are not designed for ECC specifically. Some suggestions could be used/modified if they meet the public health measures and Centre guidelines. These can be found here: https://education.govt.nz/covid-19/alert-level-3-faqs-for-schools-and-early-learning-centres#public-health-measures
4. This document provides ideas for physical education or physical activity contexts to support physical distancing when equipment or sports gear cannot be shared between children, and they must be 2m apart.
5. These suggestions have been based upon the most up to date information released by NZ Government.
More on public health guidelines and Sport New Zealand’s advice for play, physical activity and sport can be found here:
More on the role of the school, and guidelines from the Ministry of Education for schools can be found here:
More on the general guidelines of Levels and what this means can be found here:
6. We have based our comments on the types of movement we may typically see on school grounds. Physical Education classes, breaks and lunchtimes, play, fitness, sport and incidental movement (between classes, on and off school grounds).
7. These guidelines should not supersede your school policy. For example, many schools have been informed that the role of the school in Alert Level 3 is to act as a ‘home’. This means teaching staff are supervising students to complete their independent online work in a safe space, whilst their caregivers or parents attend work. Therefore, teachers on site will not be planning, or facilitating lessons for students on school grounds.
Please follow the instructions of your school leaders on this matter. If this is indeed the case, you may wish to use the ideas within this document to support break times from online learning, and for quality physical activity experiences throughout the day.
As we move towards the planned wider re-opening of schools and facilities afPE has prepared this document to support the Physical Education, School Sport and Physical Activity (education based) workforce.
Each school is different – some have been operating on a reduced pupil basis, in a different way, or the site has been closed completely. We want to stimulate discussion, allow schools
to manage their situation as we know and understand that educational contexts are different in terms of the size, age and layout of buildings. Leaders are reminded to always follow Government and employer’s guidelines. The ultimate decision about pupil safety will depend on context and geography, and is therefore for
individual headteachers to make, in consultation with their governing body.
We know all colleagues want children and young people (C&YP) to be safe and well and it is also important that the workforce is protected and safe. Considerations regarding PPE (that
have been available to special school staff and some mainstream schools, with pupils with high level medical and physical needs) and hand washing facilities must also be considered as
part of whole school consideration around effective infection, protection and control.
Below are three key questions you may want to consider in your planning:
1. Have you reviewed your risk assessments before re-commencing physical education?
2. Does your teaching activity meet the Government requirements? www.gov.uk/coronavirus
3. Are your teaching plans consistent with the requirement of any whole school/employer expectations which may have developed in response to the national guidance?
Key principles for supporting safe PESSPA:
• Clean frequently touched surfaces
• Wash hands frequently as part of a clear hygiene regime
• Minimise contact
• Ensure good respiratory hygiene
Ensure pupils are regularly informed about what good hygiene is. Decide the approach to enhance hygiene (for example, toilet use, hand washing) and decide on the policy related to usually
shared items (for example, practical equipment).
Ensure clear notices that build on NHS and Government guidance are on display, avoid information over load or the message will get lost. Posters are
available for education settings.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seminally changed the way that education systems within Canada function. Now, with schools moving to re-open, we know that it will not simply be a return to learning as it was.
The intent of this document highlights Physical and Health Education’s (PHE) core subject matter, health and well-being, as a critical learning opportunity for Canada’s young people as they heal, re-socialize, and adapt in this new learning environment. Specifically, it assists with decision-making and implementation of PHE and health promoting opportunities during class time and physical activity before, throughout, and after the school day.
This document asserts young people’s rights to a fulsome and complete education and highlights the critical and unique values PHE offers, activating growth in key aspects of a young person’s life - physical (move), cognitive (think), affective (feel), and behavioural (act).
This document has been written with three return-to-school scenarios in mind:
• Schools are open but operating on a blended (at-home and in-school) model that allows for staggered, partial, or otherwise adapted schedules
• Schools are open but with stringent hygiene and physical distancing protocols in place
• Schools are not open and teacher-directed, at-home learning continues
Regardless of the scenario, this document, in stimulating conversations on how the PHE curriculum and health promoting opportunities can be safely and effectively delivered, provides a practical vehicle to equitably support health and well-being during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. It recognizes the pedagogical expertise and leadership of PHE educators and provincial and territorial PHE Teacher Associations in finding creative solutions to health and well-being in schools. Finally, it calls on all Educators, Ministries of Education, School System Leaders, and Faculties of Education to value and support quality, holistic education that has health, well-being and PHE as a priority.
By Kevin LloydA social distancing PE pack with activities that can be done while social distancing measures are still in place. To share with colleagues in school to ensure PE can still have a place on the timetable! Developed by Kieran James - Twitter @KJamesPE