Changes in Guidance for Physical Education Beginning 1.18.2021

COVID-19 Considerations for Physical Activity COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidance for Physical Education
 

This presentation provides a very brief overview of the considerations for physical activity for youth recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Considerations include: guiding principles to determine risk in different types of physical activity; assessing the risk of spread during physical activity; identifying and promoting behaviors that reduce spread during physical activity; and steps that can be taken to maintain healthy environments for physical activity. This was recorded in January, 2021 and has the most current information to date; however because of the fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic, please check the Minnesota Department of Health's COVID-19 website to check for physical activity updates. 

 This presentation discusses health and safety guidelines for physical education identified by guidance documents from the Minnesota Department of Health, the Minnesota Department of Education, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and SHAPE America. This was recorded in January, 2021 and has the most current information to date; however because of the fluidity of the COVID-19 pandemic, please check the Minnesota Department of Health's COVID-19 website to check for health and safety updates.
COVID-19 Trauma Sensitive Guidance for Physical Education COVID-19 Guidelines for Participation in Youth Sports 

This presentation addresses the need for physical education teachers to be aware of and plan for student COVID-19 experiences. It focuses on 3 areas of student needs: equity, inclusion and accessibility; navigating a trauma sensitive learning environment, and connecting instruction to social emotional learning competencies that are embedded into the Minnesota Physical Education 2018 Academic Standards and Grade-level Benchmarks. 

This presentation outlines prevention strategies identified in the Minnesota Department of Health’s Practice and Games Guidance for Youth and Adults to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during sports activities. At the time of this recording, the latest update was from January 14, 2021. It covers requirements for holding athletic events, practices, games, scrimmages, competitions and outdoor recreational race events; identifies Important risk considerations and provides recommendations for slowing the spread during play; and identifies what to do If a member of your team or organization has COVID-19. For the most current updates once this presentation has been posted, go to the Minnesota Department of health COVID-19 website for information on Sports during COVID-19.

 

Face Coverings During Physical Education Class

Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year: Additional Required Mitigation Strategies and Tools Schools Must Implement for Any In-Person or Hybrid Learning Model Beginning January 18, 2020:

  • Face coverings must be worn when engaging in indoor physical activity (e.g., during indoor recess, indoor physical education class, or when exercising in a gym).
  • For early learning and elementary schools only: All special lessons must be held in the classroom or outside (weather permitting) however,  physical education classes that cannot operate in the classroom may continue to be held indoors outside of individual classrooms so long as students and staff are wearing face coverings.
  • It is strongly recommended that districts and charter schools require staff to wear face masks and face shields together whenever possible during the school day. School districts and charter schools should strongly consider the following as the only exemptions for their masking and face shield requirement policy:
    • When staff are serving students in settings where seeing a person’s lips is necessary, staff are strongly encouraged to wear a clear face mask in addition to the required face shield. If they do not have access to a clear face mask, they can choose to only wear the required face shield.
    • When staff are providing direct services that require close, physical, and prolonged contact, schools should follow MDH’s Guidance for Delivering Direct Student Support Services: Staff Protective Equipment.
    • When staff are preforming duties in which a face mask and a face shield worn together are creating a safety concern (e.g. visual impairment while operating a vehicle, working in a kitchen, lab etc.), staff may choose to only wear the required face mask.
    • For additional information regarding when a face shield (a clear plastic barrier that covers the face) may be used as an alternative to a face covering see MDH’s 2020-21 Planning Guide for Schools: Health Considerations for Navigating COVID-19.

Exemptions to Masking During Physical Education Activities

The following masking exemptions are identified in the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Sports Practice Guidance for Youth and Adults during the following activities:

  • For gymnastics, if there are concerns about safety in regards to choking or the face covering getting caught on objects, athletes (students) may temporarily remove the face covering during activities such as tumbling/stunting/flying or on certain apparatuses. However, athletes (students) must wear face coverings for all other practices and routines.
  • Individuals (students) who swim/dive/participate in water sports should not wear a cloth face covering while they are in the water.

Two other activities are also identified as masking exemptions from the Minnesota Department of Health, but are not pertinent to a general education physical education curriculum: cheerleading and wrestling.
For further information on wearing face coverings during sports activities please see the following guidance: American Academy of Pediatrics COVID-19 Interim Guidance: Return to Sports.
All other previous guidance regarding social distancing, equipment, sanitation, hygiene, dressing out, use of locker rooms and activity selection based on risk remain current. Information for all of these topics can be found on the #MNSHAPERISE MDE ZOOM recorded session at https://youtu.be/KHZhb6_N1zU.
For questions, please contact Mary Thissen-Milder, PhD, Minnesota Department of Education Physical Education Consultant, at [email protected].

Guidance Documents

American Academy of Pediatrics COVID-19 Interim Guidance: Return to Sports

Minnesota Department of Education 2020-21 Planning Guidance for Minnesota Public Schools

Minnesota Department of Education Physical Education in the 2020-21 School Year Recommendations and Resources

Minnesota Department of Health 2020-21 Planning Guide for Schools: Health Considerations for Navigating COVID-19

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Sports Practice Guidance for Youth and Adults

Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Prevention Guidance for Youth and Student Programs

Minnesota's Safe Learning Plan for the 2020-21 School Year

For questions contact Mary Thissen-Milder, PhD, MDE Physical Education Consultant at  [email protected]