Extracurricular Activities: Providing Respite Amid The Pandemic

Extracurricular activity is a term that’s synonymous with schools. As the final bell rings, signaling the end of a day in school, scores of children look forward to indulging in activities of their choice. From sports, dance, singing, playing musical instruments to martial arts, craftwork, and drama, there is no shortage of extracurricular activities for today’s schoolchildren.

Unfortunately, in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, schools had to close and temporarily suspend all academic and non-academic activities. After more than two years of dealing with several pandemic waves, schools are tentatively reopening and returning to physical classes.

Some of the schools in Chennai, like Babaji Vidhyashram School, are trying to provide opportunities for students to indulge in school activities amid the changed circumstances What is the need to prioritize extracurricular activities amid a raging pandemic? Do these activities serve a bigger purpose? Let’s find the answers to these questions.

Why Do School Children Require Extracurricular Activities?

Did you know that many school children prefer extracurricular activities to academics? Some experts say that it is one of the main reasons that encourage children to attend school regularly. An extracurricular activity is more than just a physical activity that provides a respite from the monotony of academics.

The couple of hours that children spend indulging in these activities set the stage for their social and personal development. Students who participate in extracurricular activities gain immense benefits such as:

  • Regular school attendance
  • Higher academic grades
  • Higher educational attainment
  • Better leadership qualities
  • Better collaboration and cooperation
  • Increased connectedness to the school
  • Improved physical and mental abilities
  • Amazing decision-making skills
  • Great teamwork and coordination skills
  • Impressive communication skills

Furthermore, children involved in extracurricular activities get the opportunity to socialize with peers from various social strata. Interactions like these create lifelong friendships and bonds that erase social barriers such as caste, creed, and financial status.

Students who take on such activities as a hobby sometimes end up mastering the talent and making it their profession. Let’s take, for example, the scores of athletes, swimmers, sportspeople, singers, chefs, bakers, etc. What would have kicked off as a simple pastime hobby is now their professional identity.

Moreover, many students who face academic difficulties find respite in extracurricular activities. These activities boost their self-confidence and help them overcome feelings of anxiety and inferiority complex.

In short, extracurricular activities are a must for school students. It provides great benefits for their overall development. Robbing children of these activities, even temporarily, can have adverse effects on their development. Hence it is imperative to restart extracurricular activities amidst this pandemic. But how?

Tips To Safely Resume Extracurricular Activities During The Pandemic

Attempting to resume extracurricular activities is a great move. However, school authorities must be extra cautious in ensuring the safety of the children and the instructors. You must:

  • Implement and follow all safety and hygienic protocols
  • Get guidance from the health department for Covid-19 guidelines
  • Conduct activities in batches to ensure social distancing
  • Provide basics like face masks and hand sanitizers on the campus

Once you have followed the required protocols, you can implement any of the following methods to carry out extracurricular activities:

  • Provide virtual platforms

All students are familiar with virtual platforms and apps. Therefore, you can effortlessly harness these digital solutions to conduct classes for:

  • Musical instrument recitals
  • Martial arts
  • Yoga
  • Art classes
  • Dance classes

These apps also allow instructors to meet with small groups and individual students to provide personalized instructions. These virtual activities are the safest when it is mandatory to limit contact with others.

  • Organize sports activities

It is mandatory to implement all safety protocols if you plan to organize sports activities. To ensure the safety of students and coaches, you can:

  • Limit the number of students
  • Assign students to limited-number batches
  • Avoid spectators for matches
  • Adjust practice days and times
  • Prioritize outdoor to indoor sports activities.

Also, keep a watchful eye on students who report sickness.

  • Create a hybrid system

You can divide the club into two teams for after-school clubs that require indoor space and equipment. Both teams can use the indoor space on alternative days to eliminate the need for over-crowding. While one group attends an in-person session, the other can catch up on the same session via live streaming.

Stay Active, But Stay Safe

Extracurricular activities are necessary, but not at the expense of your health and safety. The pandemic will be with us for longer than we know. So, let’s learn to adapt, stay safe, and carry on with the activities we love doing!

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