Gym class finds virtual alternative


Photo by Madeline Dauphin

In-person PE leaders adapt to class with new health precautions.

With there being a finite number of spots in summer gym and the requirement to take three years of physical education, many Saint Viator students have been forced to pass up the opportunity to take electives they are interested in to fulfill this gym requirement.  Well, not anymore.  

Administration has introduced a new virtual physical education class where students can take gym online in order to fit in all of their classes. This course was opened to a select number of seniors this year as a pilot program, and they have nothing but good things to say about it.

 Jack Lynch, a senior varsity golfer, was offered the opportunity to take this class.  Jack has many varied academic interests and enjoys taking theatre and choir classes, which are not always easy to fit into his schedule.  

“Online gym gives me more freedom in my schedule to take other electives that interest me,” said Lynch. 

Joey Taylor, a senior varsity soccer player, was also thrilled to have the opportunity to take this class.  

“Online gym gives me the benefit of being able to take more classes during the year,” ” said Taylor. “It allows me to take electives such as Intro to Entrepreneurship while still getting exercise through my athletics.”

The process for the class is as follows: the students taking the course are given all of the coursework at the start of the year.  The students then have the ability to complete it relatively self-paced.  This coursework includes articles and videos about the different units covered in the normal PE III/IV class as well as projects that need to be completed at the end of each unit.  The students are also required to turn in activity logs every two weeks where at least two hours of activity are logged each week.  

“This course is really beneficial to me as a varsity athlete as I get enough exercise at golf to fulfill the activity requirement so there is no need for an in-person gym class,” said Lynch.  

“A lot of kids in our school participate in sports six days a week and already get a sufficient workout through that,” Taylor said.

While this class is only offered to select seniors this year, both Taylor and Lynch believe it could become a viable replacement for gym across all grade levels.

“I think this is a program that should be considered as a replacement for all gym classes in the future, especially for varsity athletes,” said Lynch.

“I think it was a good idea to test with the seniors,” said Taylor.  “It is an amazing way to free up space in students’ schedules if they are unable to get into summer gym, and I hope it is something the administration really looks into going forward.”

While the students seem to see nothing but benefits with this new way of completing their physical education requirements, Mr. Edminster, the head of the physical education department, still believes that in person gym has benefits that virtual gym could never replace. 

Students who take the virtual PE class may not get the full experience of a regular PE class during the day,” said Edminster. “It’s the same as being remote in another subject. If they’re not here; they are not getting the full experience. They do not get the social interaction with the other students in class. They do not get experience of the participation in the team or individual sports or fitness aspects being taught.”

While the students seem to love it, there are clearly some aspects of in-person gym that virtual gym classes could never provide, so it will be interesting to see how this course develops in the upcoming years.