In creating its Committed Distance Learning attendance model, Olentangy Schools also committed to keeping students moving -- even though they're at home.
The district offered the option, known as CDL, to families who weren't comfortable with the hybrid model now in use, in which students are divided into two groups and alternate attending class in person.
Candun Griffin and Matt Graver, who are team-teaching physical education for CDL students in grades 3-5, acknowledged they can't provide the same experience remotely as they can in a school gymnasium, but both said they are striving to continue to set expectations, build community and teach physical skills in a remote environment.
"As the start of school approached, we heard from a lot of parents and students, 'We're not just going to be on the computer, are we?' And our response was, 'Correct. We're going to get you moving,' " Griffin said.
Classes began Aug. 31, and Griffin said early responses have been positive.
"The kids are excited," he said.
"You have to think outside the box," Graver said. "As I'm walking through my own house, I'm constantly thinking about what items might be in someone's home that we can use to substitute for materials we would have in the gym."
Chief academic officer Jack Fette said physical education is optional for CDL students -- although there is a PE graduation requirement for high schoolers -- but the district has been intentional about student wellness, including physical activity.
"Students have a required amount of movement and submit physical-activity logs (and) create videos of their exercise, and teachers are collecting evidence of activities," Fette said.
Video presentations via Schoology allow Griffin and Graver to provide skill instruction for students to watch. Early-week video chats cover learning goals, and subsequent group chats provide opportunities for questions, feedback and other interaction.
"In (an in-person) PE class, we'd start with a warmup, come together in a circle to talk about skills, then separate to work on them and then come back together," Griffin said. "(CDL) is modeled after that same pattern."
"There's a lot of learning just around online etiquette, of course, but we want to still create some of the same feel they'd get in the gym," Graver said.
Fette said the district initially considered outsourcing all PE instruction for CDL students but found Olentangy teachers were going to be able to work with students at the elementary level. The district is using APEX physical-education curriculum at the middle school level, he said.
Griffin said he agreed to teach in the CDL model when he learned how many of his students -- Griffin was to teach at Olentangy Meadows Elementary School after working at Indian Springs last year -- had opted for CDL.
"An online PE experience should be great for our kids," Griffin said. "It's all about meeting with them briefly and then getting them up from the table or desk and getting them moving."
"Over the semester, we'll be constantly working to find best practices," Graver said. "We don't want parents to feel like they have to go back to elementary school PE."
Both Graver and Griffin said they appreciated the professional growth opportunity to work with students in an online environment and the challenge of creating a program that meets students where they are.
"We want it to be as real a PE experience as possible," Graver said.
In all, about 5,300 students districtwide opted for the CDL attendance model. Students who signed up for CDL will have remote instruction for at least the first semester.