Should schools resume physical education and sports activities after reopening?

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School leaders advocate for the resumption of sports activities that support the physical condition of students while maintaining safety precautions.

A healthy body for a healthy mind

With the reopening of schools, physical education classes and sports activities should resume. The lockdown period has made us all indolent. We see our children becoming obese, lethargic, gloomy and dull. The only reason for this is the lack of physical activity for such a prolonged period. In the new normal, we need more physical and mental strength to face the daily challenges. Therefore, sports activities are a must for our children to help them face the post-pandemic situation with more energy. It will also help them to focus on their academic skills and promote holistic development, as it has been rightly said that “a healthy body leads to a healthy mind”.

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Pallavi Upadhyaya, Principal, Delhi Public School, Rajnagar Extension, Ghaziabad

Sport will stimulate learning

With the gradual reopening of schools in a phased manner, it is of the utmost importance that principals give sports and physical education the same priority as academics. Schools are the perfect place for a child to play because they provide safe play spaces. In addition, due to the confinement, there was no distinction between school time and recess time. Many experts have focused on the physical, emotional and mental well-being of children, especially during the lockdown. WHO recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of reasonably rigorous play time each day for a growing child. Along with the physical and mental health benefits, sports and nutrition are two things that can boost a child’s immunity. It can also be an essential tool in blurring the line between school and extracurricular activities while giving children the confidence to choose their preferred paths in science, arts and work programs.

Krish Iyengar, Business Manager, Sportz Village Schools

A restructured sports program is needed

Sport plays an important role in the growth and development of students in school life. Also, being part of the curriculum, it brings the discipline to life and teaches the value of dedication and patience. Once schools gradually restart with students physically present, it is imperative that we plan physical activities that support their fitness while maintaining COVID precautions. Starting activities and sports should be critically designed to allow for a gradual increase in exercise as students return to the new normal after a long hiatus. Those that are non-contact and can be done with physical distancing rules such as yoga and meditation can be started. A progressively restructured sports program will support schools while ensuring student safety.

Anjali Bowen, Principal, Ryan International School, Kandivali, Mumbai

Can fight weight problems

Exercise helps fight many health issues that are so important in this time of a pandemic. Maintaining a healthy weight is also important. We have seen our students grow in this year of e-learning, not only upwards, but also outwards. I am concerned that many of our children are going back to school because of weight issues. But exercise isn’t just about a healthy body, it’s been proven to improve cognitive functioning. If one looked at the top 10 skills suggested by the World Economic Forum that will be required in 2025, many of them can be instilled through physical education and sport: resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility; problem solving, leadership, initiative and active learning, to name a few. Add to that the teamwork, collaboration and communication and one can really understand the value of reintroducing physical education urgently, albeit with safety protocols.

Hillary Hinchliff – Director and CEO, GEMS Modern Academy, Kochi


–As said to Rajlakshmi Ghosh


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