Return to School Canadian Physical and Health Education Guidelines

On May 26th, Physical and Health Education (PHE) Canada has released their Return to School Canadian Physical and Health Education Guidelines to advocate for safe and effective ways to provide in-school PHE opportunities in the context of a global pandemic. The guidelines are intended to support stakeholders’ decision making regarding the inclusion of PHE in the curriculum, as well as to empower schools and teachers in creating safe and efficient PHE learning opportunities before, throughout and after the school day. Even in these trying times, there are many ways to maintain and offer quality PHE in schools. In addition, PHE courses allow children to better manage with the short- and long-term consequences of the pandemic.

As Education is under provincial and territorial jurisdiction in Canada, each province has its own PHE curriculum. The guidelines are divided in four sections to consider to enable each province/territory to adapt them as needed: Wholistic learning and Development, Physical Education Instruction, Health Education Instruction, and Health and Well-Being Across the School Day. Each jurisdiction is able to pick the information that is relevant to its situation. The making and reviewing of this document is a great example of an effective collaboration, focused on how to best support children’s well-being in times of great uncertainty.

As professors, these guidelines should help us better prepare future PHE teachers by helping them to develop their creativity as they face the new reality. As PHE researchers, these guidelines should provide insights for relevant research questions such as: How is this pandemic affecting students, PHE teachers, University programs and the way we deliver PHE in school and universities?

It should also inspire us to use our position as researchers in our own society to advocate for PHE by providing stakeholders with data-based information to help them make better decisions.

Sylvie Beaudoin, Université de Sherbrooke
Vicky Bouffard-Levasseur, Université de Moncton
Sylvain Turcotte, Université de Sherbrooke