Health comes before P.E. makeups


Some students have difficulty making up P.E. class within the department’s current absence policy. One possible change that can help mitigate the issues that arise from the policy is allowing students to submit a recording of a remote workout. Graphic by Baeyoung Yoo

Eyes open, and I feel it. Sweat on my sheets, congestion in my nose and soreness in my throat. From these few symptoms I suspect I have a cold and decide to stay home from school. But I remember I’ve already missed one P.E. class this semester, and if I miss another, my grade will drop.

I’ve lived 17 years now, so I know my body’s routine when I catch a cold, which usually lasts at least three days. I’ve grown up with a tough mother who taught me to “suck it up” and go to school unless I have a fever, and in all honesty, that’s usually what I’ve done.

However, the pandemic created a culture of caution around sickness. There’s an expectation that students with symptoms of any form of illness should stay home, but following that expectation may cause problems for students in P.E. class.

The Physical Education Department policy for an excused absence is that the student’s grade for the day goes into the gradebook as a zero out of six for early-bird P.E. classes, and a zero out of 10 for other P.E. classes. Because of COVID-19 regulations, students can only make up these points by participating in an early bird P.E. class before school or meeting with a teacher or fitness center coordinator Paul Gibbs for a supervised workout during their S.R.T. or after the school day.

Making up classes may be difficult for students when they don’t have SRT.

I’m not saying students should not have to make up P.E. and be able to skip without consequence. But I do believe there should be more accessible opportunities for students to make up P.E. class. Students could record a workout they do on their own outside of school. Students who have smart watches or applications on their phone to demonstrate their physical activity could submit screenshots of their progress to their P.E. teachers.

Students exhibiting any type of symptoms should stay home. They shouldn’t be worried about their P.E. grades. Increasing the opportunities for students who have to make up P.E. class encourages students with symptoms to stay home.