December 14, 2020
By: Roy Grimes, President, NASP®
COVID Impacts School Archery Lessons
Delivering education during this year of COVID has been a challenge for students, parents, educators, and public officials trying to do the right thing. Student GPAs, friendships, and interactions with educator role models are being impacted beyond imagination.
Participants and fans of the non-profit National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP®) are among those being negatively impacted by the virus threat.
In order for a student to experience archery lessons as part of their school’s curricula, the teacher must undergo NASP®’s highly standardized 8-hour certification process. According to data comparing pre and post COVID time frames, NASP® certifications to teach archery are down only thirty percent to 2,861 educators this year. Just under ten percent of these newly certified teachers utilized NASP®’s new hybrid training program to reduce face to face interaction.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2014), Fifty-seven percent of children between 6 and 17 years old participate in at least one after-school extracurricular activity. While educators have or are figuring out how to present math, science, language, and other core content either remotely or socially distanced, extra-curricular activities are taking a big hit. Many fall sports and now even winter sports are being greatly curtailed or even cancelled. School clubs are also in limbo. Archery is less affected because teachers say social distancing and equipment contamination can be controlled to reduce infection risk among archery athletes.
One might wonder, “Why do sports and clubs matter?” These school-related activities motivate many students beyond the playing field or range. More than one million students per year in more than 9,000 schools, participate annually in NASP®. According to a 2017 survey of NASP® students, 58% feel more connected to their school because of NASP®. Another, forty percent say they work harder in the classroom because of the program. Beyond the classroom, sixty percent of NASP® students participate in one or more archery tournaments per year. At an eighty percent rate, even more of these competitive student archers say they feel a greater connection at school because of NASP®. According to a survey by researchers at the University of Florida, students like NASP® because it is fun, they can see their self-improvement, and they make new friends.
Very popular NASP® tournaments are taking a bigger hit in terms of participation than classroom instruction. The number of tournaments held from July-December in 2019 compared to 2020 is down seventy-four percent to just 64 events. Participation in these events is down even more at eighty-two percent which amounts to 8,610 participants this year compared to 74,972 during this same period in 2019.
Still, at NASP® we remain grateful and hopeful. The heart and soul of NASP® are the in-school lessons presented by the nearly 100,000 educators who have become NASP®-certified over the past two decades. According to teachers, many of these archery lessons continue, albeit in some cases with various social distancing and equipment cleaning strategies.
The largest archery tournament in the world, NASP® Nationals, has occurred the 2nd weekend of May in Louisville, Kentucky for many years. COVID cancelled the event in 2020. The safe, full return of this event is just one of the thousands of things, millions of the world’s citizens are looking forward to returning to normal.
For more information visit: www.naspschools.org