Taking a turn: EEPE requirements change due to COVID-19

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By Michael Tierney, Staff Reporter In response to COVID-19 shutting down many opportunities to complete Extended Experience Physical Education (EEPE), Dr. Patrick Boyle, the assistant principal in charge of EEPE, revamped it and made several changes. “(The changes were made) to give students the opportunity, during the pandemic, to complete the EEPE requirements in a...

By Michael Tierney, Staff Reporter

In response to COVID-19 shutting down many opportunities to complete Extended Experience Physical Education (EEPE), Dr. Patrick Boyle, the assistant principal in charge of EEPE, revamped it and made several changes.

“(The changes were made) to give students the opportunity, during the pandemic, to complete the EEPE requirements in a safe and effective manner,” Boyle said.

The purpose of the course is to allow sophomores, juniors and seniors to exercise outside of school as a substitute for taking a physical education class. Boyle has made three noteworthy modifications to fall semester EEPE for 2020: the physical activity may now be completed at home under the supervision of a parent or guardian, students will be permitted to submit a physical activity of their choosing for approval, and students must now complete an EEPE Fall Semester Approval Survey through Schoology to have their supervised activity approved. Students are, however, still required to complete 30 hours during the fall semester to earn credit for the course. 

 Boyle firmly believes that the rule changes will have a positive impact on those who are enrolled in the course.

Senior Jason Barnaba, who has been participating in EEPE for three years, has continued his routine of going to the Upper Main Line YMCA with his good friend, senior Ryan Zheng, in order to complete his 30 hours. They commute to UMLY three days a week, and since gyms have been open since school started, they have had no problems finding a place to work out amidst COVID-19.

However, junior Athira Menezes, who used to take ballet and pointe classes twice a week for her EEPE, now does dance workouts on YouTube due to COVID-19. The new changes put in place for the fall semester were very helpful for her.

“The new EEPE rules allow parents to be the supervisor for the activity which was quite helpful in my case. I had originally chosen to take virtual ballet classes, but unfortunately the classes were cancelled due to under enrollment. Consequently, I had to change my EEPE activity to doing dance workouts on YouTube with my mom being the activity supervisor,” Menezes said.

Stretching far: Junior Athira Menezes warms up with stretches before her dance workout for her EEPE hours. She has had years of prior dance experience, making EEPE very enjoyable.

She also noted several positives to these adjustments.

“I think that the new rules for EEPE are good as they are quite flexible. In particular, I’m glad that the EEPE requirements were changed to allow kids who aren’t going to a gym, playing a sport, or doing a virtual program to easily meet the EEPE requirements by themselves at home.” Menezes said.

The rule modifications have had a great effect on how Menezes completes her 30 hours and have allowed her to do her activity safely and comfortably from her home.

Junior Julien Riviere, who is also participating in EEPE this year, is having a much different experience with the new rule modifications. Riviere plays soccer for the King of Prussia Soccer Club and counts those hours of soccer towards EEPE. 

 “Personally, I think the changes are fine. Because I am on a soccer club team, I can just put the practices and games in for my hours. It doesn’t really affect me at all,” Riviere said.  

Nor have the COVID-19 protocols for soccer been too strict, which has allowed Riviere to carry on with soccer and play with his team through the pandemic.

“For practicing and playing, the protocol is different because of COVID-19, but overall, when it comes to Extended Experience, it’s almost the exact same thing (as before COVID-19),” Riviere said. 

Junior Sydney Thompson, who horseback rides for her EEPE, has also been unaffected by the rule changes. Thompson’s barn is still open with only certain restrictions, allowing her to continue completing her hours there.

“I didn’t even realize that there was a rule change. I have been able to ride as I normally would, and nothing changed from the extended experience I did last year,” Thompson said.

Boyle has received only positive feedback so far from parents and students regarding the new rules, but the outlook on EEPE in the spring semester is foggy. 

“It depends on where we are and how the pandemic is within the country,” Boyle said. 

For these four students, it has been business as usual and EEPE has been a success so far in these unique times.

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