Aitkin High School teacher Sean Smith decided it was time for students to be back and working out.

As a result, the school’s strength, speed and agility training began Monday.

Boys are reporting Monday, Wednesday and every other Friday, while the girls are Tuesday, Thursday and every other Friday.

The program is available for free, and Smith said the summer program was important for the students.

“We believe it is extremely important to run this program for the physical and mental health of our kids in Aitkin,” Smith said. “We think it is essential for our youth to have human interaction with coaches and peers, and are confident we can do this in a way that ensures the safety of all involved.”

Changes this year include organizing students into a “pod,” with nine students and a coach in each. Once assigned, students will be in that pod for the rest of the summer.

Each pod will have a starting and finishing location, and will be isolated from the other pods to limit exposure between them.

Students are also being asked to self-screen every morning before taking part.  Coaches will also be taking temperatures using non-touch thermometers each morning, and any students running a temperature above 100.4 will be sent home.

In addition, students are required to bring their own water as the community fountains are off limits, and the annual lift-a-thon won’t take place this year.

“We are also building sanitization time into each station,” Smith added. “Unfortunately, right now we have to limit the participation, but hopefully as the summer progresses, we can open it up to more kids who want to participate.”

Right now Smith said the current capacity of 27 boys and 27 girls is filled.

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