While school in Virginia has been canceled for the rest of the year, teachers have found a new way to connect with their students.
Throughout the week, schools in Williamsburg-James City County and Newport News have sent their teachers on a parade in their cars through local neighborhoods to spread cheer to their students.
“We know that personal connections between our students and staff are really important,” said Eileen Cox, spokeswoman for WJCC. “Having virtual learning makes that a little more challenging.”
Cox said the parades are a way for teachers and staff to have face-time with students even if its just waving from their car windows.
“It’s just a minute or two to look each other in the eye and recognize that we’re all in this together,” she said.
Currently, James River Elementary School, D.J. Montague Elementary School and Stonehouse Elementary School have all planned and executed their own drive-by parades.
At the middle and high school level, Cox said schools are participating in virtual spirit weeks online. Staff and students are posting to their social media platforms with messages of support and solidarity.
“It’s basic,” Cox said. “Teachers and staff just really miss our children.”
Newport News had two caravans of teachers spread cheer Thursday.
“Schools have been closed for eight days and teachers and students are missing their time together,” Michelle Price, spokeswoman for the Newport News Public Schools wrote in a news release. “To lift students’ spirits, several Newport News elementary schools are planning “cheer” caravans.
The Southeast Pull Up and the Riverside Elementary School’s Honks for Kindness both happened on Thursday afternoon.
The Southeast Pull Up caravan was comprised of principals, teachers and staff from An Achievable Dream Academy, Discovery STEM Academy, Newsome Park Elementary School and other schools. The staff waved, honked their horns and greeted students.
The Southeast Pull UP parade started at Heritage High School and drove through southeast communities including the following neighborhoods:
- Cottage Grove apartment community, 614 Peninsula Drive
- Heritage Forest apartment community, 901 Forest Lake Court
- Marshall Courts apartment community, 741 34th St.
- Meadow View Townhomes, 4801 Marshall Ave.
- Orcutt Village Townhomes, 900 36th St.
- Ridley Circle community, 600 Ridley Circle
- Soundview Townhomes and Apartments, 871 41st St.
- Stuart Gardens, 1326 Garden Drive
For Riverside Elementary School’s Honk for Kindness, school staff honked their horns when they saw their students.
“While schools are closed, educators in Newport News Public Schools are utilizing creative methods to connect with their students,” Price added. “From social media challenges and activities to video chats, NNPS educators are helping students stay engaged in learning and fun.”