- Author: Andra Nicoli
- Author: Chutima Ganthavorn
- Contributor: Claudia Carlos
Alvord USD teachers implemented virtual physical activity with over 3,100 students in the first 3 months following CFHL, UCCE training during COVID-19 school closures, contributing to improved health for all and UC ANR's public value of developing healthy people and communities.
During the COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders, Riverside County schools, including Alvord School District, closed its school sites. This led teachers, many of whom were learning an array of remote educational skills for the first time, to attend district-sponsored professional development classes in order to reach over 18,000 students through new virtual platforms.
How UC Delivers
Six hundred teachers at Alvord Unified in Riverside County discovered ways to make physical activity breaks fun in the virtual classroom with lessons from the CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California Cooperative Extension (CFHL, UCCE) Riverside County team.
CFHL, UCCE presented a "Brain Breaks in the Virtual World" session to elementary, middle and high school teachers. The presentation included:
- four virtual physical activity break demonstrations
- a teacher resource list with links to virtual physical activity videos
The CalFresh Healthy Living, UC and UCCE Riverside County's virtual professional development training for teachers assisted them with skills to effectively reach the 18,000 students in the school district over the period of the pandemic.
Teacher feedback about the professional development series was overwhelmingly positive:
Two hundred and thirty participants responded to a poll with 88% indicating that they are "very likely" or "likely" to schedule a physical activity break during their virtual lessons.
A follow-up survey verified that teachers began implementing virtual physical activity breaks, reaching over 3,100 students within 3 months of the training.
Qualitative feedback demonstrated appreciation and skill development:
"We believe that your workshop helped empower and reduce the anxiety of our teachers as they started the school year teaching over 18,000 students remotely using the technology and resources that we introduced during the summit." -AUSD Administrator
"I notice that they (students) are more energetic and talkative (which is what I want in my setting, peer collaboration) after a brain break. You can totally see a physical reaction after as well. The majority are sitting upright in front of their Chromebooks. I have also noticed more smiling." -AUSD teacher responded to the 3-month follow-up survey
According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (2018), regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces the risk of many chronic diseases among children and adults. This intervention fosters healthy childcare environments as part of UC ANR's commitment to promoting health and wellness in the community.