Physical Education brings classes back outdoors at La Playa Stadium

City+College+Student+checks+in+before+the+first+day+of+Physical+Education+classes+on+Monday%2C+Aug.+31+at+La+Playa+Stadium+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+All+students+and+staff+must+complete+a+health+survey+before+being+allowed+to+participate+in+on-campus+activities.

Ryan P. Cruz

City College Student checks in before the first day of Physical Education classes on Monday, Aug. 31 at La Playa Stadium in Santa Barbara, Calif. All students and staff must complete a health survey before being allowed to participate in on-campus activities.

Alloy Zarate, Features Editor

 

La Playa Stadium is much quieter this semester, but not all is completely dormant at City College this fall.

Some physical education classes are operating fully online like they did in March when shutdowns started, but there are a few exceptions that will be meeting outdoors—albeit much differently.

We need to meet the needs of our students,” said Physical Education Department Chair Kathy O’Connor. “Not every class is going in person right now.”

A small number of spin, boot camp, yoga, and conditioning for sports classes started on Monday at La Playa Stadium.

Normally each semester would have up to 20 physical education classes at a time scattered around campus. Now there are only one or two classes that are confined within the stadium.

Students and staff now have to fill out a mandatory daily health screening survey before arriving on campus for class.

That’s the first layer that we have to keep people with symptoms away from campus,” said Athletic Director Rocco Constantino.

Masks and social distancing are required while on campus. Each student must have their temperature checked to get into the stadium.

“We’re doing more than is required but we want to make sure we’re doing the right thing,” O’Connor said.If we want to continue face to face, students are going to have to make smart decisions.”

Training equipment like balls and water bottles can’t be shared between students. Exercise bikes are disinfected before another student can use them.

There hasn’t been one issue with a student not wearing a mask or not social distancing,” Constantino said.

At maximum, a  class can handle 20 to 25 students safely.

“Any of these classes can go online if they need to,” O’Connor said. “But there’s some classes that are just really hard to do online.”

O’Connor said she finds it a little difficult for herself to sit in Zoom meetings all day after years of experience teaching in person.

She hadn’t been on campus since March 18 and spent the summer working from home to prepare for the fall semester. 

O’Connor recalled how many students had emailed her prior to the first day of class just to express their excitement for the upcoming semester and to say how ready they were for in-person classes. 

“Exercise is important for the immune system and mental health,” O’Connor said.

Even with all the precautions, Constantino said he still has lingering anxiety that classes will be abruptly canceled again. Schools that chose to reopen but abruptly shut down after a spike in COVID-19 cases have become common in national news stories.

“It could happen anywhere,” Constantino said. “I have all those worries just about every day,”