Safe Physical Education Programs
PHE Canada emphasizes the importance of safe Health and Physical Education programs during the reopening of schools, as physical education provides “a critical learning opportunity for Canada’s young people as they heal, re-socialize, and adapt in this new learning environment” (PHE Canada, COVID-19 Pandemic: Return to School Canadian Physical and Health Education GUIDELINES, p. 3).
Establishing and maintaining safe physical education programs requires clear and ongoing communication regarding the policies and practices related to physical education specific to COVID-19. School board staff and school administrators should have a process in place to disseminate information, seek input and concerns, and, where appropriate, provide necessary support for individuals responsible for safety related to COVID-19 (for example, teachers, occasional teachers, parents, students).
Staff and students have been out of school for an extended period of time and will be returning to a setting that will require careful planning and new processes and procedures. A safe return to physical education should include:
- a planning process for physical education that focuses on increasing awareness, developing processes and procedures, and emphasizes ongoing communication (consult Planning Strategies for more information);
- an awareness of the risks associated with COVID-19 and physical education (consult Safety Criteria Considerations for more information);
- the required protective measures and the risk treatment strategies for equipment, clothing, footwear, non-medical masks, and facilities (consult Safety Criteria Considerations for more information);
- the special rules/instruction and supervision (consult Safety Criteria Considerations for more information); and
- a process to safely implement a variety of physical education activities by identifying the necessary protective factors in each phase: facilities/location, equipment, social distancing, and instructional strategies. (consult Protective Measures for more information).