Rick Collins taught two periods of PE last year. This year thanks to Covid, he’s only in the classroom.
“The thing I’m doing better with this year is my wrist is healing up because it gets chipped and swollen from dunking too much,” he joked.
Kayhi is not offering physical education this year. The close contact of the class and not wearing your mask while exercising was a factor in the decision but it was not the main concern. The new block schedule has reduced class periods to four instead of six because the P.E teachers at Kayhi also teach other subjects there was not enough staff to teach P.E.
Kayhi principal Mr. House said it was a very difficult decision because the situation at our school with teachers being double certified to teach P.E along with their main subject.
“We kind of have a unique situation at Kayhi where our P.E classes were all taught by teachers who were certified in other areas,” said House. “By removing P.E I was able to create multiple additional sections in those apartments so that we could get those core classes down to smaller class sizes.”
The principal said it was a hard decision for the facility to make but in the end they thought it was more important to prioritize core classes.
“It was a tough call but we felt like with these special circumstances we would have one year where we really focused on our core class offerings,” said House. “Cutting P.E for this year put 7-8 additional sections back into the master schedule.”
What are kids missing?
Coach Stockhausen, who taught P.E. Last year he now teaches only history and said he understands we have to give up things this year due to certain circumstances but he thinks exercise can benefit kids in many ways especially in the stressful time we are in.
“I’m a big proponent of exercise especially in school and P.E. because of the positive benefits it has towards the brain and your brain can produce all the things you need to focus better in school and to cut down on anxiety, and in a time where anxiety in kids is probably at an all time high with all the changes and differences I think exercise would be one of the most important things that could help us combat it,” said Stockhausen.
M.D John Ratey wrote on the Harvard Medical School website that simple exercise every day can help with anxiety and has a great effect on the brain.
“I’ve witnessed firsthand how physical activity affects my patients,” Ratey Wrote. “Research shows aerobic exercise is especially helpful. A simple bike ride, dance class, or even a brisk walk can be a powerful tool for those suffering from chronic anxiety. Activities like these also help people who are feeling overly nervous and anxious about an upcoming test, a big presentation, or an important meeting,” said Ratey.
Collins said how important it is to have P.E here because of the harsh weather in the winter makes it very difficult to get outside and exercise all the time.
“Exercise is really important and that’s the biggest travesty of not having P.E this year, If we think about our winters in ketchikan with decreased sunlight and then we think about Covid having to wear masks and we think about school we do the best that we can but when you take exercise out of that equation and its raining and blowing it makes it very hard to get outside and get that exercise so if a students not able to get that in our gyms it’s going to be hard for them to get that exercise and then anxiety levels go up and health declines,” said Collins.”
Unique teaching opportunities
Collins said he misses his boys conditioning class and the relationships he built with not just his wrestlers but other athletes.
“I love coaching and I coach wrestling so it’s fun for me to have my wrestlers in my boys conditioning but I really like developing relationships with the basketball players and the baseball players and the people who are doing other sports, it’s fun to help improve them from a strength and conditioning stand point,” said Collins.
Many students planned on taking a P.E class this year and were surprised when they were told it wasn’t being offered. Kayhi junior Degan Linne planned on taking Boys conditioning class all four years of high school and was disappointed he doesn’t get to play basketball and do other activities this year.
“I was let down that we couldn’t play basketball with the boys and Rick, our coach.” Linne who is also on the wrestling team said boys conditioning gets him into shape for the season.
“It definitely got me in shape doing physical activities every day, it also prepared me for wrestling because I got to spend time with my coach Rick Collins,” said Linne.