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Portland PE teacher takes workouts online for students

Since schools have been closed because of COVID-19, physical education teacher Michael Rittman has been uploading videos to keep his kids engaged and healthy.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Many kids would normally be getting ready to head back to class on Monday morning, but because of the coronavirus they're stuck at home.

But one southwest Portland physical education teacher is trying to help his kids stay healthy and feel a little more normal by seeing a familiar face.

Michael Rittman teaches PE at St. John Fisher School, a K-8 Catholic school in southwest Portland.

Since schools have been closed because of COVID-19, he's been uploading videos to YouTube to keep his kids engaged and healthy.


Instead of e-mailing exercise recommendations or sending students random workout videos with people they don’t know, he decided to make things more personable.

"I decided to film daily 10-minute, high interval training workout videos," Rittman said. "What I’m doing is just 45 seconds of an intense exercise and then 15 seconds break. So we do that for 10 minutes and that means 10 different exercises."

Every morning he e-mails the video link to students and parents, then he gets pictures back of his students, their siblings and other family members joining in.

"It definitely encourages me to keep doing this," Rittman said.

From introducing kids to his dog Henry, to dressing up for St. Patrick's Day, Rittman has fun with it.

"By exercising and releasing endorphins, we can help reduce our stress and anxiety," Rittman said.

"I've had a bunch of parents e-mail me and say my son or my daughter really missed their classmates and being at school, and by watching these videos every day makes them feel a little better about not being around their friends," he said.

Rittman said his workouts will get you sweating, but can accommodate kindergartners up through 8th graders.

He plans to upload a 10-minute workout video every day school is out during the coronavirus pandemic.

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