The COVID-19 pandemic has seminally changed the way that education systems within Canada function. Now, with schools moving to re-open, we know that it will not simply be a return to learning as it was.
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Return to School Canadian Physical and Health Education (PHE) Guidelines highlights and stimulates conversations on how the PHE curriculum and health promoting opportunities can be safely and effectively delivered and provides a practical vehicle to equitably support health and well-being during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Latest update: Tuesday, May 26th, 2020)
These Guidelines are rooted in both a Comprehensive School Health Framework and a strength-based Trauma Informed Approach. As well, they are anchored in UNICEFs’ Framework for Reopening Schools, which include four key dimensions to inform planning: safe operations, learning, reaching the most marginalized, and well-being and protection.
How to Use the Guidelines
The intention of these Guidelines is to assist with decision making and to strengthen every school’s ability to provide meaningful, safe, engaging, quality PHE and health promoting opportunities during class time and physical activity before, throughout, and after the school day, with three return-to-school scenarios in mind:
- Schools are open but operating on a blended (at-home and in-school) model that allows for staggered, partial, or otherwise adapted schedules
- Schools are open but with stringent hygiene and physical distancing protocols in place
- Schools are not open and teacher-directed, at-home learning continues
This document asserts young people’s rights to a fulsome and complete education and highlights the critical and unique values PHE offers, activating growth in key aspects of a young person’s life - physical (move), cognitive (think), affective (feel), and behavioural (act).
Guidelines for Quality Physical and Health Education
Please know that this document has not been created to replace or override public health or school board policies. It is imperative to continue effective prevention, early detection, and control of COVID-19 in all public spaces.
Returning to school will involve many challenges. One thing we know for certain is it is especially critical now to support the health and well-being of students. PHE offers a vital opportunity to support students learning WHY and HOW to deal with the stress of COVID-19 and take responsibility for, and care of, their health and well-being.
This document is the beginning of a long conversation and learning curve where we all work together to best support students as we develop and determine what school will look like in the coming months and years. We look forward to continuing the conversation with you.