School Reentry Considerations

In-School Instruction With Physical Distancing

Physical Education - Instructional Strategies

Continue to address all five National Standards for K-12 Physical Education by selecting associated activities that require little or no use of shared equipment by students. Educators may need to shift the focus of their curriculum to Standard 3 (health-enhancing fitness), Standard 4 (personal and social responsibility) and Standard 5 (value of physical activity) and incorporate activities for Standard 1 (motor skills and movement patterns) and Standard 2 (movement concepts) that are safe and appropriate. NOTE: In some situations, it may not be possible to address all Grade-Level Outcomes due to the constraints of physical distancing.

Teachers should use a microphone and speaker when delivering instruction to students. The use of face coverings and the need for students to spread out to accommodate physical distancing may make it more difficult for teacher instructions to be heard.

Focus more on individual pursuits or skills rather than traditional team sports or activities (e.g., dance and rhythms, exercises without equipment, fitness, mindfulness, outdoor pursuits, track and field, throwing underhand, kicking and target games).

Use games and activities that require no physical contact and do not require students to be in close physical proximity to each other.

Include opportunities for student choice and incorporate student-suggested activities when appropriate.

Ensure lessons are planned around the available space for instruction.

Identify activities and units that can enhance the development of health education skills (e.g., self-management, interpersonal communication).


View the School Reentry Considerations: K-12 Physical Education In-School Instruction With Physical Distancing Supplement document for examples of National Standards and Grade-Level Outcomes that physical educators should focus on during in-school instruction, with accompanying example activity ideas and strategies for implementation. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but to provide some specific examples that hopefully serve as a catalyst for educators to generate additional ideas.

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.