Field day has always been a staple event of the end of the school year, and COVID-19 is not stopping Hall County elementary schools from keeping the tradition alive. The shoe flip, paper airplane javelin throw and bat spin relay are just a few of the events that Hall County elementary students could participate in during virtual field day.
The event was put together by Geoff Chaffin, physical education teacher at Riverbend Elementary, and a committee of PE teachers from schools around the area.
“Field day is always the celebration of the end of the school year,” Chaffin said. “I think everybody remembers their field days from elementary school. We were out to provide something for our kids that would be fun and a little different.”
The result was an online game board put together by the committee. Participants can roll an online die and advance a game piece with their school logo on it across the board. Each space is attached to a video where a PE teacher explains an activity. Field day was scheduled for May 8, but the board game website will remain active for students to participate whenever is convenient for them and their families.
It’s not quite a conventional field day, but it's a nice alternative for students searching for a sense of normalcy during an unusual end to a school year.
“I thought it was great that they came together to create the virtual field day for the kids, because they are missing out on so many of those end of the year, fun activities,” said Erin Blair, a teacher and a mother of a third grader at Riverbend Elementary and an eighth grader at North Hall Middle School. “I think it’s just a great way for them to be able to take part.”
Dawn Hucks, a teacher at Riverbend Elementary whose third grade son Sam also attends the school, said the virtual field day has provided the family with a welcome break from the screen time of digital learning.
Hucks said field day is one of her favorite days of the spring, and she’s excited to take part in it this year with her son.
“Being inside and not being able to go anywhere, it’s exciting to be able to get out there and do something,” she said. “And I like that I can get out there with him.”
Beth Johnson, a teacher at Sardis Enrichment School with a first and fourth grader at the school, said that keeping field day going will help students stay connected to their peers.
Even though they won’t be able to actually meet in person to participate in events, parents are encouraged to share photos of their students on social media so classmates around the area can stay updated with what their friends are up to.
“Being able to do this, even virtually, kind of brings out that sense of community and the sense of we’re all still here,” Johnson said.
Chaffin said the board game website had received more than 1,700 unique visitors by noon Friday, with more continuing to pour in over the course of the day.
And while it's not the field day anyone was expecting, it will be a memorable one.
“The kids are missing so much at the end of the school year. I hope that they are excited that they’ll get a field day,” Chaffin said. “It looks a lot different than they’re used to, but they’ll have something at least to look back and probably remember this field day more than others.”