The Impact of COVID-19 and Homeschooling on Students’ Engagement With Physical Activity

Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic forced an unprecedented global shutdown that closed schools for months. In many nations, schools were closed to students, and teachers directed educational activities remotely via digital devices or homeschooling resources. This article explores how these months of homeschooling have affected the physical activity of Norwegian students in Grades 1–10. All Norwegian students are supposed to have at least 60 min of physical activity every day in school. We draw on data from two surveys, one with parents (N = 4,624) and the other with teachers (N = 726), to provide an indication of the daily physical activity students engaged in during the period of homeschooling. An important finding from the teacher survey is that the degree to which schools prioritised physical education among the school subjects varied greatly between schools and teachers. Key findings from the parent survey were that reported time spent on physical activity increased with the age of the students, that many parents expressed concerns about increased sedentary behaviour, and that the most active students were those who showed the greatest engagement and effort in schoolwork in general. Our findings raise the questions of whether students were given too much responsibility for their own physical activity during this period and whether teachers should provide their students with more digital workout sessions and instructional videos.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fspor.2020.589227

The Impact of COVID-19 and Homeschooling on Students' Engagement With Physical Activity

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