Pixelated P.E.

Gym class at Garfield looks different this year.


By Nhu Tat

As students continue further into the school year at Garfield, more obstacles are being met by students and teachers. The prospect of fair tests is being challenged, many science labs aren’t available, music classes are being held in the solace of students’ homes, and gym classes are becoming more limited. 

Physical education in schools has been an important part of a class day; an opportunity for students to stretch their legs and get outdoors with their friends. Garfield has always provided students with educational and engaging PE courses, but due to the pandemic, those opportunities have been limited and replaced with increasing challenges for students to get exercise. 

“Not having access to all of our gym equipment means we don’t get to participate in the wide variety of activities we normally would,” physical education teacher Christopher Englund said.  “It is really tough to provide positive feedback on student performance when I can’t see them in action.” Virtual exercise during this time is limited due to many factors, such as the teacher’s inability to accurately grade students on their activities in gym class over a screen and lack of regular gym resources.

Garfield High School provides many resources for kids to actively participate in PE class in fun and entertaining ways. Students have the option of the fully stocked weight room, pool, two full-sized fields, and a track. However, in a world living through a pandemic, gym classes have been forced to adapt to a learning schedule that is not reliant on those resources.

 “With our Swimming and Weight Training classes, there hasn’t been a way to get into the pool or weight room. In Personal Fitness and Lifetime Activities, we would also be out on the track and field during the nice autumn days.” said Englund. Distance learning also limits the resources Garfield would usually provide to students, making working out at home less exciting. 

While the academic aspects of Garfield’s PE classes have been limited, social interaction is also challenged this year. Many students find  gym class is a perfect time to laugh and have fun with your friends, however morale is hard to keep up virtually. 

However interaction between students is not the only social aspect of distance learning that is being challenged. “Being new to Garfield, I feel like it will take much longer to get to know my students. I appreciate seeing their personalities in their avatars, but it is hard not being in-person every day,” Englund said. Teachers as well are finding it hard to create relationships with students over a computer. 

No matter how difficult making the switch from in-person to virtual gym classes may be, Garfield is adapting to the obstacles at hand. Online workout programs have been a major help to the Garfield PE department this year. We’re doing a lot of HIIT workouts over Teams right now. There are also Daily Dares to stay active throughout the school day,” said Englund.