As Reeltown Elementary School continues virtual learning another week, students are keeping up with P.E. class in the same way many adults have been keeping up their exercise regimens during the pandemic — YouTube tutorials.
Each morning, P.E. teacher Ashley Bryant records a YouTube video of herself instructing students on the day's activities, which the principal posts on the Reeltown Elementary Facebook page (Wednesday's video included a cameo of fellow P.E. teacher Jeff Hardin). Bryant then posts a link to the activity in the comments.
"So far it has been positive," Bryant said. "They have been excited to have a little exercise time at home, and just seeing our faces."
While some parents will leave Facebook comments sharing the exercises they did with their child, students are not required to send any video confirmation.
"It's an honors system," Bryant said.
Last week, Tallapoosa County Schools announced Reeltown elementary and high schools would have to go remote for one week due to COVID-related staffing shortage. On Wednesday, virtual learning was extended through Friday, Jan. 22.
According to the school system's COVID-19 dashboard, four Reeltown Elementary employees have gone into quarantine since their return from holiday break, two of which tested positive for COVID-19. Twelve Reeltown High School staff members have gone into quarantine in that same time period, seven of which tested positive.
This week is the first time this school year any of Tallapoosa County Schools has had to go virtual. When schools suddenly shut in the spring, P.E. class had to be scrapped altogether.
"Since everything was new and we were just trying to get packets of school work out to them, we didn't want to add the stress of another activity on the parents," Bryant said.
As such, YouTube P.E. class is new as of this week.
For parents trying to keep their kids active amid pandemic restrictions, Bryant recommends incorporating activities that can be done at home without any special sports equipment or gear.
"All the videos that we post are just body exercises," she said. "(They) tie in a lot of music and rhythm activities and dances so they can still be active."
In one video, "Push Up Pauly" chants workout instructions to an 80s beat. In another titled "Would You Rather? Superhero Edition," students choose a movie character before following the exercises onscreen.
Even when brick-and-mortar school is in session, P.E. class has not looked the same since the coronavirus pandemic. Activities are done outdoors, except for in bad weather, and students are kept spaced apart wearing masks, Bryant said. They also can't use any sports equipment, which can spread infection.
Even still, P.E. class remains a hit.
"They love being active, being with their friends," Bryant said.