LEOMINSTER (CBS) – Teachers in Leominster decorated their cars and formed a parade to drive through neighborhoods honking and waving at their students, who they haven’t seen since classes were closed until at least April 7 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Secretary Margaret Wood was one of the organizers of the Monday morning event.
“Just bring their spirits up and let them know we are thinking about them. We’re happy to see them, to give them a little wave, show them we love them,” said Wood when asked about why the event was important to educators.
Teachers from Northwest Elementary School lined up their cars to form the parade. They decorated with balloons, streamers, and signs before taking to the streets. There was even a police escort.
Students were given the parade route in advance and asked to step outside and wave to the passing teachers while maintaining social distance.
“We just miss our kids so much. The biggest thing I have seen on social media and everywhere else is this is not a vacation for us. We miss our kids more than anything,” said Julie Pavao, a fifth-grade teacher at Northwest Elementary School. “We want them to smile, we want them to know everything is OK and we are here for them. We’ve been reaching out to them on google classroom and through email. We care. We miss them and love them.”
They’ve been out of school for a week because of coronavirus fears, with kids and teachers working from home. The parade is a different way for them to connect.
“We can’t be close to them. We can’t be in the classroom so we are going to go in a parade and just tell them how much we miss them and how much we love them,” said teacher Lindsay Irons.
Beth Whigham, a parent who stood on the side of the road with her son to greet the teachers, said, “I think the teachers really miss the kids and the kids really miss the teachers. And seeing this and knowing that they’re there during this hard time they can’t understand; it’s great.”
Wood added, “If we all follow the directions and do what we’re supposed to do we’ll be back in school, hopefully before the end of the year.”