VIDEO: ‘We Miss You’ parade connects teachers, students during coronavirus

Emerson Parkside Academy really misses its students.

Evidence of that was decorated all over the SUVs and minivans of the dozen or so teachers that cruised Emerson’s surrounding neighborhoods on Thursday, April 2, during the school’s “We Miss You” parade. Organized by principal Rose Vitetta, the parade featured teachers in their cars, blaring their horns, waving and calling out to students and parents waiting outside to see them.

It’s been a major adjustment for students, parents and teachers now that schools have closed. Even though teachers and students are communicating via virtual classrooms, many say they had not anticipated how much they would miss interacting with their students in-person.

“There’s an energy that elementary students bring to the classroom and our school that makes everything lively and energetic,” said Theresa Hreschuk, a resource specialist teacher (RSP) at Emerson Elementary. “That energy is what I have missed the most from not being at school. I can’t replicate that energy in my house.”

California State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Thurmond announced Tuesday that schools will likely remain closed until fall, which means teachers will continue to educate their students online, but in the meantime, teachers are looking for ways to keep morale high while safely connecting with their students.

“Our ‘Miss You Parade’ builds that community and fellowship, not just with our teachers but with our students, with their parents, with the neighbors in the neighborhood,” Vitetta said. “Little things like that [the parade] make a difference.”

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Cheantay Jensen is an editorial intern who covers art and culture for the Hi-lo section of the Long Beach Post.