Preparing For Safer In-Person PE Instruction During a Pandemic

Submitted by: Dustin Yakobuian

pe distance

Are you ready for in-person PE when schools re-open? Read this to help get prepared!

The White House wants schools nationwide to reopen!  Teachers may be vaccinated before it happens, but your students and their families will most likely not be vaccinated before schools reopen!  This means COVID-readiness needs to be your top priority.  So, is your PE program ready?  This article, and the online course Physically Distanced PE is designed for exactly this purpose: getting you and your PE program ready!

As PE teachers, we are always keenly aware of safety precautions in our instruction.  From setting up our teaching space to thoughtfully considering which equipment to purchase/use, to the instructions and rules we create, we are responsible for making our PE program as safe as possible.

Now, with the pandemic and many of us returning to in-person instruction, our responsibility to safety is greater than ever!  At the same time, physical activity is also more important than it has ever been.  For the past few months, most students have been cooped up at home, largely physically inactive, and in desperate need of the mental, emotional, and physical health benefits of physical activity.

With all of this in mind, it’s time for us to step up to the challenge.  The good news is that you’re reading this, which is proof that you are aware of the need for high quality PE which is modified and improved to meet the challenges of the pandemic.   So my question to you is:

Is your PE Program S.A.F.E.R?

distance PE program


We need to give more space, to properly exercise Physical Distancing in PE. Selecting and preparing your instructional space such that every person is separated by at least 6 feet.


You must reconsider your existing lessons, adapt them where possible, and adapt your planning to create new and improved lessons to meet the needs of the day.


We will work hard in the background and sweat the details, and sure we need students to take this seriously as well! But our best planning will make things safer, so students know what to do and can continue to find PE as the fun and educational class it was before pandemic.


We need to eliminate equipment usage as much as possible, and when it is used, it needs to be limited to single-student use and disinfected after each use.


PE has always been a great opportunity to teach students those to be successful social people. Teamwork, cooperation, problem-solving, and enthusiasm towards constant improvement have always been hallmarks of a quality PE program. So let’s take this pandemic as yet another hurdle we will clear and come out of this even smarter, fitter, safer and more resilient than ever.

You’re not on your own! Here’s a resource to help make your PE SAFER

I created the acronym S.A.F.E.R. as just one part of a new online course called Physically Distanced PE on the online professiobal development school through S&S and PE Central. The course provides PE teachers with 10 PD hours digging deep into safety considerations; how to adapt your instruction; assessment; addressing students, parents and admin, and ultimately creating a cumulative project which is 100% practical an ready-to-use when you return to school this fall.

physical education PD

Course Purpose/Objectives:

  • Explore various options for in-person, physically distanced PE
  • Explore various safety considerations we must address in our PE classes AND safety considerations we need admin/district-level staff to be aware of
  • Discuss differences in school settings, and how that will affect PE instruction during a pandemic
  • Discuss the three main possibilities for school restarting in the 2020-21 academic year (fully remote, hybrid remote/in-person, and fully in-person)

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, users will be able to:

  • Identify how the pandemic has and will affect PE instruction broadly, as well as in the user’s specific teaching environment
  • Adapt their instruction to address safety concerns as well as students’ learning needs
  • Identify key “can dos” and “can’t dos” when it comes to PE during a pandemic
  • Communicate key information with school administrators and parents
  • Create modified PE lesson plans

dustin pe teacherAbout the Author:

Dustin is a physical education and health teacher currently teaching in California public schools. He taught PE remotely for the last two and a half months of the 2019-20 school year and is currently preparing for what the 2020-21 school year will look like (including the possibility of remote, in-person, or a hybrid approach). He created this course for teachers like him – who face the possibility of returning to in-person PE instruction during the pandemic, which will require special planning and considerations, not least of which is making a physical class into a physically distanced class.

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4 thoughts on “Preparing For Safer In-Person PE Instruction During a Pandemic

    • Hi Tammy, the image we used is from a gym that we visited years ago for some training and photography. We can reach out to the teacher, but is there a specific question you had about ventilation in general?

    • Hi Janet, yes the course costs $99 to enroll. The course will take about 10 hours to complete, and once you are finished you can request the 10 PD hours towards your teacher licensure re-certification. Please let us know if you have any additional questions. You can also email [email protected] if you need assistance.

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