Photo by Anupam Mahapatra on Unsplash

By Preston Blake

Are P.E. classes still operational at Skagit Valley College? Many students at SVC at one point or another take a physical education (P.E.), class. Whether this is to fulfill a credit requirement for a degree, or you just wanted to learn more about a specific physical activity. There are a lot of classes normally available at SVC that fall under this category. However, with the pandemic came change, and change most certainly came to the students and staff at SVC.

Taking P.E. At Skagit for a lot of us is mandatory for our degrees and even specific P.E. classes are required such as wellness for life (Physical education page, Skagit Valley College website). So how exactly is that supposed to work right now during the pandemic, are they still offering these classes or are they waiving them for the time being. We here at the cardinal had the opportunity to interview one of our prominent physical education teachers at SVC, Mrs. Susan Deschenes, and asked her about how P.E. classes work right now and how they affect teachers and students alike. Susan has been working at Skagit since 1997 and has an undergrad in exercise science and multiple certifications including but not limited to pilates, personal training, yoga, and more! She even competed in the National Ninja League during season 5! She teaches all different kinds of classes at Skagit, so many in fact that if you’ve ever taken a P.E. class there is a good chance she was your teacher. These classes include things like firefighter fitness, strength training, cardio kickboxing, self-defense, and many more. She is also in charge of running SVC’s fitness center in the gym building.

Certain P.E. classes were already being taken online prior to the shutdown such as P.E. 160. When the spring quarter of last school year hit though all teachers throughout SVC had to go through the stressful process of redesigning all classes that weren’t already online and remaking them into an online format. P.E. classes in particular were a great challenge.

You may be asking yourself “How do these P.E. classes work online?”. Susan was kind enough to give some background saying “How I teach them is trying to be as close to the real thing as it would be live. So my P.E. 113 which is a strength training and a cardiovascular four day a week class, we’re using that same format so I would give them four 45 minute activities that they would do on their own but to keep the students accountable for watching the lectures and reading the handouts there’s always a quiz every single week so the questions are based off of the videos that they participated with and or handouts they studied. In my classes there always videos and there’s always handouts to correlate with the weekly quiz”.

When asked if she thinks this online format is an effective method of learning for the students Susan said “It depends on the student, some students it fits the need of their life, you know one student may be a single mom with three kids and they are trying to get their degree and this is what works best for them, I have received a lot of positive feedback from students that seem to like it, and there’s another handful of students that really miss being in person, but I think there is a need for both which is why we will continue to offer both”

When it comes to sports classes or any other physical classes that require a partner to participate such as tennis or swing dancing even online you cant provide that and according to Susan the reason a lot of these classes aren’t currently available is that in accordance with the governor’s rules it just wouldn’t be safe and therefore not possible to run these classes at this time. The reasoning behind this is that the school has to assume that not everyone taking classes like these from home has access to someone to partner up with so it just isn’t realistic to offer these classes at this time.

So if you’re a student at Skagit Valley College and you still need or want some P.E. credits under your belt you still have the opportunity to! Although things are not as they usually are the staff at SVC have worked very hard and given us the next best things to in-person classes even if that meant re-arranging the entire class. However, if you were hoping to take something along the lines of tennis or swimming then you may have to wait a bit longer until either the pandemic is over or a lot more manageable. Everyone can all give a big thank you to the hard-working professors at SVC who made the best out of a bad situation.