Capital teachers conduct ‘ride and wave’ for students

DOVER — The face of school is changing in the landscape of COVID-19.

On Sunday, Gov. John Carney announced a stay-at-home order that will go into effect today at 8 a.m. through May 15, or until the crisis has subsided.

“I think that this was unexpected. Because schools shut down really fast, for us in particular, we didn’t have a chance to say goodbye,” said Julie Giangiulio, principal of East Elementary School.

She said staff is missing the students. The social-emotional component school offers is important for the children they serve, she added.

Despite the rain, Ms. Giangiulio’s staff — and educators throughout Capital School District’s other schools — headed out Monday to their students’ neighborhoods to do a “Ride and Wave.”

Social distancing was still in effect, Ms. Giangiulio said. Students and their families were encouraged to wave from doorways and windows of their homes, while staff stayed in their vehicles.

As caravans of educators passed through neighborhoods, they honked their horns and held up signs for their students.

Teré Crawford, first grade teacher at Towne Point Elementary School, said their students met them with the same enthusiasm. On the route she and about 20 of her colleagues took, she said students had signs that read, “We miss you.”

Towne Point Elementary school students home due to virus closure got to see a caravan of their teachers honking their car horns while driving through their neighborhoods Monda

“That was really sweet of them,” she said. “It was just a really touching experience, and I think it’s something that we’ll remember, and the kids will remember as well.”

Ms. Crawford said in a group chat with staff members, they saw that other schools and districts were pulling together for something like this and they wanted to do the same before Gov. Carney’s order went into effect tomorrow.

“Education is not just about academics, it’s really about building that relationship with the students; so, realizing that we care about the whole child, not just what they’re learning or having them advance to the next grade,” she said. “We want them to become better students and better people for when they get out into the real world.”

East’s Ms. Giangiulio said she has been having review meetings with staff members twice aweek, and they’re brainstorming ideas to keep their students engaged, in a way that follows the Secretary of Education and Gov. Carney’s mandate.

“We’re trying to keep that sense of community going,” she said.

She added that educators are networking and talking with other principals and staff to come up with ideas.

“It’s unprecedented,” she said. “This is something we haven’t done before. We’re being open-minded and thinking outside of the box. … We miss our students.”

Ms. Crawford agreed.

“We often reflect on their safety, their wellbeing, their emotional needs and their academic needs,” she said. “And I think this is just something that we all will remember and I think, during this time, it’ll help us to know that we can push through any challenges and persevere.”

“I know every time that anytime anything happens at our school that … we just always find a way to come together,” she continued.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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