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COVID-19: A Message From Our CEO

Dear SHAPE America Community,

I sincerely hope this finds you and your family safe and healthy. Please know you and your students are on our minds daily as we adapt to the challenges of living — and working — in a world affected by COVID-19.

During this crisis, helping young people stay healthy and physically active has become more important than ever. As a health and physical educator, you’ve always taught students the necessary skills to maintain their physical, mental, and social-emotional health — and now your lessons and activities are helping entire families stay healthy!

While your focus remains on teaching and finishing the year strong, we remain focused on offering the guidance and tools you need to navigate the months ahead.

SHAPE America has been working in close consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the unique needs of health and physical educators are considered moving forward — and we will continue to take the lead on this effort in the coming weeks.

Our action steps include:

  • Developing school re-entry guidelines: In consultation with CDC and state and district leaders, SHAPE America is working diligently to expedite the development of health and physical education re-entry guidance for schools. This will include specific, evidence-informed guidelines and operating procedures to keep school communities mentally and physically safe as we shape a new approach to learning. We are also working in conjunction with Kaiser Permanente to include this guidance in their “re-entry playbook” for schools, which will be available this summer.
  • Developing new professional development and resources: Through our partnership with CDC, we will create new tools to ensure you have ongoing support as you implement the re-entry guidelines throughout the upcoming school year. And, because social distancing and isolation have had such a profound impact on student learning and mental health, we will be curating practical, trauma-informed resources — including training videos for preservice teachers — to meet students where they are physically and emotionally.
  • Advocating together: In addition to advocating for continued ESSA funding, SHAPE America will be working with a coalition of education partners to advocate for additional emergency funding. This funding will support state education budgets for K-12 and higher education. Working collaboratively with state affiliates, we will send a positive and united message about the importance of HPE.

Since the crisis began, our goal has been to provide factual, up-to-date information and resources to support the health and physical education community.

Some of our continuing efforts include:

  • Curating free resources: We continue to work with the HPE community to gather a variety of distance-learning resources — many requiring no specific technology or equipment — to provide you with short-term solutions for teaching and self-care. You can expect more of these resources to come online in the future.
  • Gathering community input and feedback: We are hosting ongoing community focus groups and virtual town halls to inform state and federal agencies and lay the groundwork for back-to-school recommendations. If you have specific questions you’d like to see us address in a future town hall, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
  • Amplifying our voice: SHAPE America is unifying with national organizations, including Kaiser Permanente, in support of health and physical education in K-12 and higher education. We also continue to work in close partnership with the CDC to provide guidance to state Departments of Education throughout this crisis.

This is a fast-moving and evolving situation. While we are actively working with educators at all levels to find the answers you need, we are also prepared to adapt to whatever the future may bring. The bottom line is we have your back and we always will.

Thank you for your ongoing support of SHAPE America.

Stephanie Morris signature

Stephanie A. Morris


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