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Coronavirus closes schools in China; students keep fit with help from Del Val teacher


Some students in China, whose school is closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, are getting their phys-ed instruction from Delaware Valley High School’s own Matthew Hagy.

Hagy, who moonlights as a certified health coach, posts hundreds of instructive videos on YouTube and other social media platforms.

He recently received an email from Bill Hester, an American who teaches physical education at the Yew Wah International School in Guangzhou, China. Most of the students are Chinese, and the rest are from elsewhere.

The school is in “a pretty safe area of China, but staying at home helps prevent more cases,” so “we are doing online learning.” The students “are pretty much on home quarantine,” wrote Hester.

Coincidentally, Del Val High School is preparing to wade into distance learning, with a first distance-learning day coming soon. But circumstances have thrown Hester and his Chinese colleagues into the deep end of the distance-learning experience.

Hester emailed Hagy on Feb. 9 to say that “the yoga videos are great. I teach secondary, and they are a perfect start for my students. They also work well in this situation. We do the routine together on camera, then I give them five poses or a movement assignment to record themselves and turn it in. ...

“Thanks for the stellar resource, and know you’re helping replace boredom and inactivity for these kids,” he said.

Hester is spending a couple weeks in Vietnam while serving up American yoga lessons to his cyber gym classes in China.

Hagy knows his videos have a big audience in the U.S., but his penetration into China is something new. The subjects he covers include weight loss, workouts, flag football and phys-ed lessons. His biggest hit is an archery video that has garnered 90,000 views. His YouTube views have accumulated a total of about 1.5 million views.

“Technology can work longer and harder than you can,” said Hagy, “so by posting on social media I can connect with thousands of people and impact their lives in a positive way without even knowing it. So why would I not share my knowledge with the world?”

To see some of Hagy’s free lessons, look up “Matthew Hagy” on Facebook, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.