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Physical activity improves students’ academic achievement, behavior management, sense of connectedness, physical health, and emotional well-being. Whenever students’ normal outlets for physical activity are disrupted by school closures, state leaders can reengage students and promote their well-being by prioritizing quality physical education and extracurricular programs to ensure that all students have opportunities for physical activity during the school year.

Using a nationally representative survey of parents and caregivers in fall 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that parent reports of their children’s physical activity levels and emotional well-being varied depending on whether students engaged in virtual, in-person, or combined instruction. Parents of children who received only virtual instruction were more likely than parents of children who received in-person instruction to report that their children experienced decreased physical activity (62.9 versus 30.3 percent) and time spent outside (58.0 versus 27.4 percent). …


Reengaging Students through Physical Activity





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