‘Social distancing’ parade held for elementary school students

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**Embargo: Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, PA**

Teachers and staff at two Pennsylvania elementary schools held a “social distancing” parade for students.

 LEBANON COUNTY, PA (WPMT ) — Teachers and staff at elementary schools across our area are holding “social distancing” parades. Another one was held Friday for students who attend Annville and Cleona Elementary Schools, where teachers showed students just how much they miss them from a safe distance.

One by one, dozens of cars parade through the streets of Cleona. Each driver was a staff member or teacher at Annville or Cleona Elementary schools.

“It’s not something that I think I’m surprised by because that’s just the kind of school district I think Annville-Cleona is and just are staff is,” Angie Love, Principal of Cleona Elementary, said.

They sent virtual hugs and hellos, as schools have been closed for nearly two weeks.

“On Friday the 13th, when we left school, none of us knew we weren’t coming back on Monday,” Kelley Rodriguez, ESL Specialist at Annville-Cleona, said. “We were as much surprised as the students were. We all miss each other tremendously. We love our summer breaks but we don’t like breaks that weren’t planned for so although it’s necessary, it’s not a break we’re happy about.”

It’s a feeling that’s shared by everyone on both sides of the street.

“I thought it was wonderful,” Tara Gerstner, a parent said. “I really liked seeing the community come together and I think it was uplifting for the children.”

“And the kids miss their teachers, they miss going to school so it was good for them to see that too,” her husband, Nate, said.

The parade kept everyone’s spirits going.

“It’s just a very different time,” Love said. “That none of us have ever experienced before so just the idea that we’re still making contact and still having those relationships with people – but just in a different way.”

And there’s little doubt, that they’re looking forward to getting back to school.

“I think at the end of the day I hope this just makes their spirits a little bit uplifted,” Rodriguez said. “Makes them realize we’re all in this together.”

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