Mrs. Fernald, the PE Teacher at Baymonte Christian School, organized a one lap marathon for students, family members, and a dog, on April 3rd.  Students at Baymonte Christian, from kindergarten through 6th grade, joined together for this fun, safe, and healthy activity.  In order to promote social distancing at the event, participants were instructed to remain in their cars until they were told to run a lap, by themselves, or accompanied by family members, while adequately spaced staff cheered them on. 

 Mrs. Fernald recalled the faculty meeting about four weeks ago at Baymonte, when they were informed of going virtual.  “Our principal told us we’d be transitioning to a distant learning model.  My heart immediately sank.  I had so much planned in the spring, like Presidential Fitness and track and field day.”  During the meeting, Steve Patterson, the principal asked his teachers what they could do to overcome their newest obstacle.  Fernald says, “It came to me immediately.” She summarized her idea to the attendees, “We’ll host a one lap marathon!  Parents drive their kids up, their kids or their family get out, run a timed lap, get back in the car, and drive off.” Mr. Patterson had an “extremely supportive response.  If you dream it, he’ll say go for it.  He makes my job fun and easy.” 

 Since that meeting, Fernald has been planning the marathon, alongside other teachers, Patterson, and the office manager, Leslie Rapolla, who “made awesome signs. The signage was huge.  It needed to be organized and everyone needed to know what to do when they came, to maintain a safe environment.” Fernald also reached out to local law enforcement, to double check safety procedures during the event.  Captain Wilson, of the Scotts Valley Police Department, gave a resounding “Yes!” and added, “The Santa Cruz County Health directive tells us to get out and exercise in a healthy manner.  This is perfect!”

 On April 3rd, Fernald and the other teachers of Baymonte Christian were so excited to see the long line of cars, “being distant during learning, you can’t see the kids.  I miss them… Everyone had to remind themselves to not hug and stay at their assigned cones.  I, and a few others, almost cried to be able to see our kids and give them lots of support as they ran around the track.  What amazing confidence we’re pouring into these kids, after all the negativity they’ve been exposed to in the news.”

 Overall, the event was a huge success, with 113 runners, and a family dog.  To virtually experience and hear about the award winners, check out:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY4NRsdqzkU&t=184s.  The 1st-3rd place winners were each rewarded with an amazon gift card, to give the older kids “a little incentive.”  Fernald was so pleased with the turn out as she feels, “a sense of responsibility to keep kids healthy during this time.  We already have a huge problem with childhood obesity.  I want to motivate them in a positive way for the benefit of them. There’s so many video games, TV shows, movies, and so much screen time.  I just want the kids to get out and have fun.  If there’s anything I can do to promote positivity, getting out and exercising, I’ll do it.”

Fernald’s socially distanced creativity does not stop with the marathon!  She’s putting together a drive-in movie night for the school and has started her own YouTube Channel.  PE TODAY! With Mrs Fernald suggests new activities and exercises for kids, alongside the Baymonte mascot Leo the Lion and a new theme each video. You can subscribe or view her videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeFw-O9n9zVNCcZ-HzwceSA.

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