Physical education teachers hold ‘porch party’ to encourage N.B. students to stay active

A group of New Brunswick physical education teachers has found a creative way to encourage their students to get outside and get active amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are having something called a Salisbury schools porch party and chicken jack challenge,” said Janice Bos who is a physical education teacher at Salisbury Elementary school.

Bos said she got the idea after seeing a physical education teacher do a similar community outreach event in Toronto.

She, along with physical education teachers Wayne Wilson and Lynn Bland who both teach at Salisbury Middle School, rode through the village Thursday on bicycles and in cars decorated with signs of encouragement for their students.

“We are asking families to come outside and they are going to do 10 chicken jacks when they spot us coming by,” said Bos.

Their goal is to put a spotlight on the importance of physical education, “and in the importance of getting some movement during this pandemic,” Bos said.

Wilson also teaches at JMA Armstrong High School in Salisbury. He says he misses seeing his students and the porch party was an opportunity to connect with some of them, “to see some smiling kids jumping around on the front lawn.”

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Kids of all ages ran into their driveways in the village to pump out those chicken jacks, while the trio drove by waving cowbells and crying out words of encouragement to their students.

Bland said that it is important for her students to remain active during the pandemic for both their physical and mental health.

“It helps us with our moods and anxiety and dealing with issues like depression. It helps lift our spirits,” he said.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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