Professional Learning

Return to School PHE Guidelines


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 - looking at where and how this can be done across the school day. 

Recovery Learning and Assessment: Recovery learning will be critical to well-being. How do we support personalized recovery learning through assessment of, for, and as learning? 

  • Use backward design to ensure effective assessment. First select focussed educational goals, then develop a plan based on where, when, and what is being taught. Using the plan, identify what student success will look like and then determine assessment criteria 
  • Provide students with a variety of opportunities to demonstrate their learnings: providing opportunities for students to choose from a range of activities with similar knowledge and skills 
  • Use formative assessment to establish where individual students are and be responsive to data you collect from observations, conversations, reflective writing, and/or assignments 
  • Co-construct learning opportunities, experiences, and goals with students 

Maintain Recess: Students have the right to rest and play. How do we support unstructured play and time away from instructional learning so that students can reap the health and well-being benefits? 

  • Include recess for all students every day 
  • Hold recess outdoors as much as possible 
  • Consider all the available indoor and outdoor spaces, on school grounds and close by, to provide a range of activity options and minimize crowding 
  • Involve students in the planning and organizing of recess time, including discussion about activities, inclusion, social harm, equipment management, fair play, and hygiene practices to stop the spread of COVID-19 
  • Offer a variety of outside spaces where free choice of different activities can take place, including quiet, creative, and solo activity spaces 
  • Create and mark ‘zones’ to reduce the number of students who are in contact with each other and shared equipment 
  • Provide leadership opportunities for students to help support each other 
  • Have a list of inclusive games readily available, including those that need no equipment 
  • Structured or sedentary activities such as watching movies or activity break videos that do not provide students free choice and peer interactions are not substitutes for recess 

*More information can be found in the Global Recess Alliance’s Statement on Recess

Active Transportation: How do we resolve issues related to physical distancing for travel to and from school. How do we increase the number of students walking and cycling to school? 

With need for physical distancing, how students arrive and leave school will be impacted. A ready solution is active school travel. Moreover, it helps students meet the recommended daily physical activity goals, which is linked with optimal health. Knowing that active transportation promotes health and well-being, and students who are active before school are more ready to learn, purposeful planning will be required to realize the opportunities that active travel can offer.  

  • Promoting active travel to school will be necessary ahead of the school year to resolve the capacity issues we will have with regards to bussing. (see the School Travel Planning Toolkit here for ideas) 
  • Once in school, introduce students in PHE to road safety for walking and the ABC’s of bike safety, including the fundamental considerations of bike safety, the appreciation of the bike as a vehicle, the knowledge of how to care for both the bike and cycling gear, the understanding of basic traffic concepts and rules, and the development of cycling skills. 
  • Each morning monitor bike racks to ensure proper physical distancing while locking and unlocking bikes is maintained. 
  • Consider colour coding the individual rungs of the bike rack to help students spread themselves out and allow the bikes to be locked to school fences to help spread students out.