crystal city parade

From left, Crystal City School District students and sisters Maya and Bella Hankins show some love to their teachers who drove by their home as part of a drive-thru parade. Maya, a sixth-grader, and Bella, an eight-grader, are the daughters of Mike and Monica Hankins.

Jefferson County educators are finding ways to remain connected with students while schools are closed because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Seckman Elementary School administrators and teachers held a drive-thru parade March 22, and Fox, Hodge and Clyde Hamrick elementary schools’ administrators and teachers did the same on March 23.

JP Prezzavento, the Fox C-6 School District's communications and instructional technology coordinator, said families were instructed to remain in their own driveways and wave to the passing teachers, who remained in their vehicles as they drove through their schools’ neighborhoods.

“Principals are reminding staff and families of social distancing, and everybody is encouraged to find the social-distancing guidelines,” Prezzavento said. “Each teacher is in their own vehicle, and they wave to students from a distance.

“We want to find ways to have connections with our school families. From what I have seen, families seem to appreciate it.”

Jefferson County school districts closed March 18 because of the pandemic. The schools are expected to reopen April 27.

Fox staff members were not the only educators to put together drive-thru parades for students and families to connect with teachers from a safe distance.

Crystal City and Festus teachers and administrators also held parades on March 23.

Along with parades, Fox district schools are finding ways to connect teachers and students on social media.

Antonia, Clyde Hamrick, Meramec Heights and Sherwood elementary schools have organized a virtual spirit week, asking students, teachers and families to post pictures to the schools’ social media sites each day with a different theme or activity. Ridgewood Middle School also is holding a virtual spirit week.

Seckman High School is asking people to post pictures of themselves wearing clothing with the school’s logo on it.

Meramec Heights also is posting an interview with a teacher on its Facebook page at 11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the closure.

“I think that is cool,” Prezzavento said. “Our teachers are doing everything they can think of to maintain some sense of normalcy for our kids, and to make sure our kids know, we are here for you. We are not in the same building or space, but we care about you and want to make sure you are doing OK.”