Teachers connect with students via car parade in Ottawa County

Coronavirus

GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Monday marks the start of the second week of the government-mandated school shutdown, and teachers are getting creative with ways to reach their students at home.

A group of teachers in Ottawa County organized a car parade on Monday near Alward Elementary School in Georgetown Township to connect with their students and let them know they’re missed.

“We want to let them know that we care, that we love them, we miss them,” said Melanie McClure, principal of Alward Elementary School. “Our biggest focus right now is just making sure that our kids are feeling safe.”

Dozens of teachers gathered in the school’s parking lot Monday morning, decked with signs and costumes, ready to parade through the nearby subdivisions to let their students see they haven’t been forgotten, no matter how much has changed. 

“It’s a great way just for us to connect and build those relationships. It doesn’t have to mean we just have to be in school to have these relationships with our kids,” McClure said. “We thought we that we would just take a field trip because we’re all tired of being cooped up in the house.”

The parade was organized in less than 12 hours. An Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office deputy held up the rear as teachers made their way through neighboring subdivisions, honking their horns and waving as they went. 

“It’s a great way just for us to connect and build those relationships. It doesn’t have to mean we just have to be in school to have these relationships with our kids,” said McClure, who led the parade.

Those connections have become all too uncommon with social distancing and a stay-at-home order now in place.

Parents like Rebecca and Matt Litts hope their daughter won’t forget the effort her teachers put into the parade.

“She is only in kindergarten, but she misses her teachers and friends very badly,” Rebecca Litts said. “It’s just been really encouraging to see they’re staying in touch, they miss the kids, too, and it’s been awesome.”

Stuck now between teaching their children lessons at home and wondering when they will return to school, the Litts said they were excited to have a few moments to smile and wave at the teachers as they rolled by. 

“A lot of things have changed I think it’s important to just have a little bit of normalcy but connection. And just seeing something special like this is really fun,” Rebecca Litts said. “It helps break up the day for us, too.”

When students will be welcomed back to schools around the country is still a mystery. But one thing is for certain: they will be welcomed back with open arms. 

“We want to let them know that we care, that we love them, we miss them,” McClure said.

“We’re just trying to navigate these uncharted times together. And just lift each other up and let them now that we do care about them.”

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