While it’s critical for schools to develop school reentry plans that ensure the health and safety of students and staff, it is also important for educators and administrators to take into consideration the effects caused by social and physical distancing and the previous closure of schools.
Students and staff have been affected mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally due to the abrupt interruption of their daily lives. They have had to adjust to a new normal, and many are managing complex emotions such as anxiety, fear, loneliness, and grief.
These feelings should be acknowledged, and teachers and school leaders should recognize how these feelings might affect student learning when developing units, assessments, and learning experiences for the return to school. Instruction in health and physical education can help students manage these emotions through the development of health skills, participation in physical activity, and overall development of health and physical literacy.
Below are school-wide strategies for school reentry as well as teaching strategies for health and physical education related to equity, inclusion and accessibility; social and emotional learning (SEL); and a trauma-sensitive learning environment. Also included below are recommendations for conducting an at-home student survey and strategies for student assessment. The following overarching strategies should be considered no matter what model of learning the school is operating under.