BFA’s Physical Education Department Adapts


A student practices archery in physical education class. Photo credit: Dino Patsouris

Rachel Ledoux, Writer

Just about every course Bellows Free Academy, St. Albans offers has had to adjust its curriculum and format due to the Coronavirus, and physical education classes are some of the most different. Gym classes are physical in nature, so the social distancing guidelines have not done the program any favors. Luckily, BFA’s physical education teachers have managed to make the best of a bad situation and continue their classes in a semi-normal fashion.

One part of gym that has remained the same is that students are still able to choose which units they partake in, an aspect of the course that teachers “really value,” said BFA physical education teacher, Sarah Fabrizio.

According to Fabrizio, currently students have the option of ultimate frisbee or personal fitness. However, no matter which class students choose, they will still be learning a lot differently than in past years.

In a normal school year, gym classes are one of the most hands-on courses students can take. Fabrizio noted that this year, however, students spend three days a week doing online work involving physical education. This work can include watching YouTube videos, reading articles, etc. These assignments usually relate to whatever work students are doing in-person, such as learning the rules of badminton online and playing badminton in class. This type of curriculum is difficult and, “very different from anything we have done before,” Fabrizio said.

She added that some other difficulties of the COVID-19 guidelines are the smaller class sizes and masks, both of which make team sports, “very challenging.” Masks can cause trouble with breathing, which is an essential part of physical activity. Classes are also made up of around nine students, which is much smaller than usual. 

However, despite the small class sizes and different curriculum, students seem to be enjoying gym classes a lot. “It has actually been really fun . . . and the teachers are extremely nice,” said physical education student Quinn Stanley (’24).

Fabrizio said that the increased time slots have been advantageous when it comes to classes, and that she’s grateful to have a fitting opportunity to get to know her students better that she hadn’t had before. Fabrizio also added that “[She thinks] students have adapted amazingly well to the changes in class. Students seem to be eager to participate when we are in school, and it has been wonderful to see their energy and engagement.”

Despite this, students and teachers alike still seem to be looking forward to getting back to normal next year. “I can’t wait,” Fabrizio said.