With many schools opting for distance learning to limit the spread of COVID-19, physical education is limited or has been stopped completely. Exercise, however, is especially important for children during the pandemic because it can reduce stress, prevent weight gain, and boost the immune system.
During school closures, parents are finding it a challenge to limit their kids’ screen time and encourage physical activity — especially while balancing working from home, managing their household, and overseeing online school lessons.
When youth sports and kids gyms, like Gyminny Kids were shut down during quarantine, it took a physical and mental toll on kids.
“In the middle of March we had to close the gym for on-site classes," said founder Daniel Gundert.
Gundert said while his gymnastics center was closed, he was unable to provide an important outlet for children to get some exercise and relieve some stress during an extremely difficult time.
“It’s very difficult for kids to focus in distance learning or even in-person learning unless they have a physical outlet,” Gundert said.
It was also a financial stress on him.
“The majority of our clients continued to support us. At least a month or two or even three months which was such a godsend," he said. "It enabled us to continue to pay the bills, pay the rent and we were able to pay our staffs insurance even though they were furloughed.”
In addition to the community support, the gym received a PPP loan and finally reopened in June with restrictions.
“We are constantly cleaning so we are cleaning mats in between uses," Gundert said. “We’ve had zero confirmed cases from our facility and we have had hundreds of students that they've come through here. At this point, we are not thinking about making a profit we are just trying to break even so that we can sustain this in case it goes another six months or two years.”