New Albany Elementary School now has a staff fitness room.
“I find it very exciting,” said Emily Garrett, third grade math teacher.
Garrett recently returned to teaching after spending six years at home with her children. While she enjoyed being back in school, Garrett said it had been stressful with all the changes Covid-19 has brought. Garrett noted that the gym will provide a place where teachers can relieve stress.
The gym will allow teachers to distract themselves from everything and simply exercise, said Garrett, who plans to use the facility after school.
Likewise, Teresa Ohler, another third grade teacher, said that “fitness is important”. With the stress of school, the gym gives teachers a place where they can “blow off steam” and take care of themselves, she said.
Staff can use the fitness room before or after school or on weekends.
“This will be a good opportunity for all of us,” said Ohler.
Heather White, a third grade English teacher, said the gym will show students that the teachers are exercising and achieving the goals.
“We’ve always told kids to make healthy choices, and the best way to do that is to model them,” White said.
Gwyn Russell, director of the New Albany Elementary School, said the gym is for anyone over 130 employees. It’s equipped with elliptical machines, treadmills, weights, skipping ropes, a big screen TV, and even a massage chair. More equipment is added to the fitness room, which has a sign on the wall that says “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”.
In addition to the gym, a few days a week there are some practice sessions for staff in the school’s gym. Russell, who was a former fitness trainer and trainer, will be teaching a stretch and relaxation class. There will also be a cardio class.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Russell said she think employees will benefit not only physically but also emotionally from the gym. Ultimately, the staff makes it even better for the students, she added.
Russell said employees have been through “so much” this year. Teachers held classes in person while preparing for virtual students, she noted. And the staff did it all without whining or complaining, she said.
“I know it wasn’t easy,” said Russell, adding that the staff continues to give students what they need. In return for the staff’s hard work, Russell said she wanted to give them resources to take better care of themselves.
The school also has a fitness challenge that requires each employee to exercise for 30 minutes at least three days a week.