LewisvilleElem

Linda Mayer, a speech pathologist at Lewisville Elementary School, holds a sign and waves to students during a parade of students in front of the elementary school on Friday in Winston-Salem.

LEWISVILLE — It didn't rain on the parade after all.

When a legal team with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools advised teachers at Lewisville Elementary against parading past students' homes in their cars, parents brought the parade to the school. 

Photos: Parade of Students at Lewisville Elementary

The scene that played out in front of the school Friday afternoon was joyous, providing a sliver of sunshine in dark times that have left teachers and their students in the dumps.

Around 1 p.m., a line of cars snaked past about 25 faculty and staff members spread out in front of the school. Parents honked horns; kids waved and smiled from inside cars; teachers waved back, some holding pom poms, some wiping tears.

"I miss you!" both groups yelled back and forth.

One young wiseacre hung out of a car's sunroof, waving a roll of toilet paper in each hand. 

Lori Norman, a kindergarten teacher, stood near a curb, where, on a usual weekday, parents would be lining up to pick up their kids from school.

"I love your hair Maddie!" she yelled to one passing car.

The past two weeks have been emotional, and the parade gave her some comfort.

"It's the first time I've felt this much joy in two weeks," Norman said. "Yesterday, I walked in my classroom and the reality of it hit me, and I ended up in tears. You get to the point where you're even missing the kids who are picking their noses, and you're telling them to wash their hands."

In a few Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools and across the country, teachers have been getting in their cars and parading past children's homes, an effort to lift spirits during the new coronavirus outbreak. Gov. Roy Cooper closed public schools statewide for two weeks on March 14, extending that to  May 15 earlier this week.

That pushed learning online, separating teachers and their students. 

The adjustment has been hard.

Paige Johnson, whose daughter, Avery, is a kindergarten student at Lewisville, said she has experienced a few hiccups trying to access her daughter's school work.

"It's so hard because kindergarten is hands-on," she said.

Avery grinned widely as she passed her teachers at Lewisville. She misses math the most.

"This means a lot," Johnson said of the parade. "This is her kindergarten year, and this is not how it is supposed to go."

Earlier this week, a few teachers at Caleb Creek Elementary School in Kernersville, drove past the homes of many of their students, holding posters and bringing good cheer.

The suddenness of Cooper's order was jarring to teachers and students, and there's a strong urge to re-connect, said Ashlie Kiger, a music teacher at Caleb Creek, who was among the teachers who drove past the homes of 40 students.

"This is our life, day-in and day-out, and for this to be taken away ..." Kiger said. "We wanted to do a drive just as another way to connect with them since we can't seem them every day."

On Thursday, just as Lewisville was planning to take its parade out into the community, the school district decided that it could not authorize the parades as a district or school event because of potential liability risks that could lead to some student and staff safety issues, according to district spokesman Brent Campbell.

"With that in mind, our legal advisors do not feel such events would be covered by our insurance carriers. Also, based on the governor’s order to have small events, we advised that it may be difficult to have those events, stay in compliance with the order and have people to practice safe social distancing," he said. "Staff members are, of course, welcome to do as they please on their own free time, with their own cars, etc."

lodonnell@wsjournal.com

336-727-7420

@lisaodonnellWSJ

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