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Gym Class' Upgrade

By Zahra Mazkur

As New Hyde Park Memorial welcomed its students back in-person, some COVID-related physical education class guidelines have continued. These include the loss of access to gym lockers, which has impacted the dress code and could potentially affect student grades.

An unexpected rule was not allowing students to use the gym lockers, so students are no longer able to change for gym class or put their backpacks away. Students must arrive at class fully prepared for physical activity; no dresses, sandals or jeans are allowed. A benefit was having access to bathrooms during the five minute periods of allotted time before and after class. Many wonder if they are graded for unpreparedness just as they were in years past.

“Students have been asked to dress in comfortable, PE appropriate clothing and sneakers on the days that they have physical education. As a department we have decided to provide a "warning" if a student does not have sneakers or is dressed in inappropriate PE clothing (i.e. jeans). After the warning, they would be considered unprepared, which will affect their grade,” said physical education, health and FACS chairperson Mr. Maguire.

Source by Anna Dekte

A Croc (non-appropriate gym shoe) beside a sneaker (appropriate gym shoe) shows the contrast between footwear for gym class.

There are mixed opinions about the changes affecting the gym lockers. Some students believe that it is more convenient, since they don't have to worry about getting all their belongings out of the locker rooms; it is less time consuming.

“I think that not having access to lockers is actually more convenient because instead of going to the lockers after class, we can just pick up our backpacks and leave,” said seventh grader Bella Bodenhorn.

While some see it as an inconvenience, since they will most likely need to stay in their sweaty gym clothes for the rest of the school day, other students do not agree with the new system either, since some outfits they want to wear to school that day do not meet the PE dress code.

“One of things that is dissatisfactory about not having locker rooms is the burden to carry your backpack most of the time. I have friends who carry enormous amounts of items in their backpacks, and it is uncomfortable for them to carry everything around,” said sophomore Manal Rashid.

“For the 2021-2022 school year, there have not been any changes to the curriculum. We will be having fitness testing starting in November...”

Last year, another difference from years past was the absence of the fitness testing programs. Many students are wondering if these will take place again; many are hoping they will not.

“For the 2021-2022 school year, there have not been any changes to the curriculum. We will be having fitness testing starting in November. Fitness testing provides a great way to monitor and assess the students' ability as it relates to aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. It will also provide our students with a baseline fitness level. This will help them to assess and create goals to improve their health-related fitness,” said Mr. Maguire.

The student body is not the only group affected by these changes in guidelines. Physical education teachers have been left wondering how to deal with handling their classes and motivating students to participate.

“Due to the challenges, students have been not wanting to sweat as much as in the past. There are also multiple distractions with having phones and belongings in sight of students. Also, students seem less interested in team activities than they have been, especially in the ninth-twelfth grade classes. I feel that with time and us abiding by the COVID restrictions, participation will get better,” said physical education and health teacher Ms. Rizzuti.

Like it or not, students will have to adapt to the changes, and it will become part of their routine. While these changes may be inconvenient for many students, the new rules will help NHP transition, and hopefully students will be able to use the gym lockers once again in the near future.


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