ANKENY, Iowa — In Ankeny on Monday, a group of teachers from Prairie Trail Elementary organized a parade to greet students and parents, but with social distancing in mind due to the coronavirus.
“I think we’re all pretty excited. We’re all going a little stir crazy. It's hard not seeing your kids every day,” said Haley Burgess, who teaches special education in kindergarten through fifth grade. “Just a wave and a smile is going to brighten everybody’s day. I think we’re all just ready to see everybody.”
The tour was carefully planned to hit all the neighborhoods where Prairie Trail kids live. The maps of the parade were shared on social media, so kids and parents knew where to go. Cars honked horns along the way. Cars were decorated with signs to greet the waving kids.
“I’m really excited to see all my students, so I just thought I’d decorate my car,” said Katie Driscoll, a special education associate.
"I think it’s wonderful. It’s nice to have something for the kids to look forward to because this is hard. Nobody likes being isolated,” said Eski Lappe, a parent who had her kids out drawing greetings to the teachers in the driveway.
“One of my teammates organized it and put together the map, said Cheryl Cardin, a kindergarten teacher. "We’ve let our parents know from social media they were going to be out and about in the neighborhood.”
The tour went past Dean Park, which is across the street from the school. This park had parents, students and even some grandparents all out to greet the parade.
“I thought it was a really beautiful gesture for our teachers to come out and see the kids,” said Heather Matson, who is a parent and also a state representative in the Iowa Legislature. “I know this is really hard for all of them. It’s hard for the kids, hard for parents, it’s hard for our teachers who want nothing more to be doing their jobs and actually teaching our kids.”
"I just want to communicate to the students and the families that we're all in this together, and I hope that the students will just continue to read at home and help their families as much as possible during this time," said Katie Piper, a reading teacher at Prairie Trail School.