School Reentry Considerations

In-School Instruction With Physical Distancing

Health Education - Classroom-Based Physical Activity


While maintaining physical distancing measures is critical in mitigating the spread of COVID-19, classroom teachers can still provide opportunities for students to be active throughout the school day (in addition to physical education and recess). Incorporating activity breaks during classroom learning can increase the amount of time students are physically active throughout the day and limit the amount of time they are sedentary.

SHAPE America partner Springboard to Active Schools provides schools with key resources to easily implement strategies for classroom physical activity. Classroom-based physical activity improves students’ concentration and attention, behavior, motivation and engagement in the learning process, and academic performance.

Providing opportunities for classroom-based physical activity can be used as a strategy to mitigate feelings of stress and anxiety brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. CDC guidelines regarding physical distancing should be followed when engaging in classroom-based physical activity. If deemed safe by school administrators, open the doors and windows to the classroom to maximize circulation and air flow to accommodate for increased respiration by students while participating in physical activity. Consult with the school-wide COVID-19 response team to ensure the room’s ventilation system is working properly.

Suggested citation: SHAPE America. (2020). School reentry considerations: K-12 physical education, health education, and physical activity. Reston, VA: Author.

The recommendations and strategies provided herein are obtained based on guidance for schools provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and national recommendations for physical education, health education, recess, and classroom-based physical activity. The COVID-19 outbreak is an ongoing, rapidly developing situation. Educators are encouraged to monitor publicly available information and to always follow federal, state and local health organization guidance and government mandates. This information may vary and will be updated as necessary.