Coach Z Takes Phy Ed Classes Outside

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone’s life. At St. Viator Elementary School, every part of the building has seen some kind of modification and all of the classes have changed in order to keep students and teachers safe. Bottle-filling stations replaced drinking fountains and group tables were exchanged for individual desks. Desks are separated by at least 6’ and formerly communal school supplies can no longer be shared. Students are not changing classrooms between classes, but rather teachers are to limit movement throughout the building. Most grades are still in their homerooms, but one has been relocated altogether: Physical Education.

St. Viator administrators made the decision to move Physical Education (PE) classes outside as planning was underway for school reopening. Outdoor physical activity is arguably more important than ever this school year, because students are not moving about the school building in ways that they are used to and they do not necessarily have their usual sports and extracurricular activities due to the ongoing pandemic. Athletic Administrator Mr. Zajac (“Coach Z” as many call him) leads students from PK3 - 8th classrooms to the campus parking lot for Phy Ed class, fresh air and a workout. Coach Z has used the lot in the past, mainly for hockey and kickball, while using the Rec Center gym for most other Phy Ed activities. Now he utilizes the outdoor space to enable social distancing protocols while getting the students active, benefitting their physical as well as mental health.

Coach Z has students running drills using the parking spaces as obstacles.


Coach Z has also incorporated the new Peaceful Playground “6’ Distancing Playground” into his classes. If you walk past you may hear him guiding the children through a game of “River-Bank” as they hop in and out of the “river” play zone.


Coach can also draw on his football coaching experience to lead drills through the “ladder bar” feature.


The spacing of the 6’ Distance Playground also affords students the space to safely drop their masks for some fresh air.

Ex TV

The weather is beginning to cool down and that will bring more changes. If there is one thing that 2020 has taught us all, it is the importance of faith and perseverance. It is a time for thoughtful creativity and innovative solutions, guided by health and safety protocols. No doubt Coach Z and the St. Viator administration will create a new plan to keep students safe while they stay active - it’s a “growth mindset” thing!

Have you seen your child’s PE class in the parking lot? Do you have any thoughts about the Peaceful Playgrounds 6’ Distancing Playground? Maybe you’re wondering what schools are doing to keep their in-person learners active. Feel free to leave your thoughts or questions in the comments section. If you would like more information from St. Viator Elementary School, please visit our website at: https://www.stviatorchicago.org/ and click the “Contact” tab. Complete the online form to submit questions directly to our Front Office.


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