APOLLO BEACH, Fla. - Dozens of teachers wound through streets near Apollo Beach Elementary to see their students for the first time in over a week. They have been out of school for spring break, but did not return due to the novel coronavirus.
Teachers and students didn't know the last time they saw one another would be the last time they saw each other for a while.
Writing loving messages on windshields instead of blackboards, teachers reminded their students on Monday that out of sight doesn't mean out of mind.
"We miss you, we know this is a hard time," said principal Kelly McMillan. "We love your face and we can't wait to see you again. If this is the only way we can see you right now, that is what we are going to do."
Since school was called off on March 13, teachers have been preparing to implement e-learning. Since teaching is built on trust, a honk and a hello could go a long way once learning is no longer in person.
"They pour so much into their job," said McMillan. "They pour so much into kids. This is a way for them to connect."
As word spread on social media that teachers would be parading through a half dozen neighborhoods near their school of 640, parents and students lined the streets to get a glimpse of their favorites.
"Olivia really wanted to hug her teacher. I am like, 'Eh, not going to happen,'" said Jessica Sutton, whose daughter attends school at Apollo Beach Elementary.
In tough times, it becomes clear who the community heroes are.
"If this goes on longer than expected, I hope they do this every couple of weeks to keep the kids' energy up and morale going, it was really awesome," said Sutton. "It got me a little choked up."
The Florida Department of Education has closed public schools until April 15.
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