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COVID-19 Pandemic: Return to School Canadian Physical and Health Education GUIDELINES 1.0.0

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Patrick Severijns

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About This File

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.


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