Back to school checklist: resuming physical activity
As many UK schools now begin to open, there are still a lot of concerns about the safety of children and families. After lockdown, many children’s physical activity has dropped significantly, and it is more important than ever for children to be active for at least 30 minutes within the school day.
The benefits of physical activity during those first days of school
- Promotes physical fitness and mental wellness. This would help kids to adapt to a new routine after months of being at home.
- Physical activity, performed the right amount of time and intensity, can provide benefits to the immune system.
- Keep practising important concepts of teamwork, leadership, work ethic and integrity.
Safety tips for the new first days of sports
- Ensure that children have no COVID 19 symptoms when they go back to school. Families have the responsibility to report any symptoms within their households. Coaches and parents should encourage children to self-report any symptom.
- Coaches and athletes MUST wash their hands OR use hand sanitiser BEFORE and AFTER each practice or competition.
- Whenever possible -between games and during breaks- athletes must maintain social distance from their colleagues.
- Don’t allow them to share any equipment, food, bottles, etc.
- Prevent them from celebrating or congratulating each other with hugs, high fives or touching each other’s hands.
- Clean all the equipment used during the games both BEFORE and AFTER the practise or game.
- Masks MUST be worn whenever possible by parents, coaches and children who are spectators or on the bench during games.
- We STRONGLY encourage contact tracing for spectators/athletes/coaches.
- Common spaces like locker rooms or showers must be limited to a number of kids in order to allow social distancing.
Keep in mind that, for some kids, those first days are the first in a long time. Therefore, take into account that:
- Children who have had an extended time away from sport should start slow. There is an increased risk of kids getting an injury if pushed too hard too fast.
- Some of the participants may have had the chance to keep practising sports, but others didn’t. Don’t make them “catch up”. This won’t allow their body to adjust and recover, which again can lead to the risk of getting an injury.
If your child has had COVID 19 infection, it will be their GP the one who determines when it is safe to start a graduated return to physical activity, based on their medical history, symptoms and recovery. In this case, there should be monitoring at all times to check if there are any new symptoms or if they seem to be worsening.
Dizziness, a difficulty for breathing, less tolerance to exercise or chest pain are some of the symptoms that might appear. If that is the case, discontinue any activity and check with the kid’s health provider what is the best option to follow. Before allowing them to make any physical activity, you should check your kid’s symptoms in case there is a danger of them returning to practising sports.