School Reentry Considerations

K-12 Physical Education, Health Education, and Physical Activity

All Students Need Health and Physical Education


The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how schools operate and has illuminated the need to prioritize students’ safety, health and well-being.

As school districts create new instructional models for the 2020-2021 academic year, administrators and educators must consider students’ physical, mental, and social-emotional health above all else. And, an important part of the solution must be health and physical education.

SHAPE America’s 2020-2021 School Reentry Considerations: K-12 Physical Education, Health Education, and Physical Activity is intended to guide administrators, staff, and teachers as they prepare an environment for safe and supportive instruction using one of three models of learning:

  • In-school instruction with physical distancing
  • Distance learning
  • Hybrid learning (defined as a combination of in-school instruction with physical distancing and distance learning)

Regardless of which model is followed, schools must offer physical education and health education as part of a well-rounded education for all students during COVID-19.  

It’s time to prioritize health & physical education. Students’ well-being depends on it.

View the digital, interactive document below. Download using the icon in the upper left corner.

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.