OREGON, Ill. (WTVO) — Oregon educators say that social and mental health is just as important for students as traditional learning. They think they found the perfect way to lift kids spirits as they’re home from school.
Shannon Cremeens, Dean of Students, Oregon High School, said, “Social and emotional learning for our students is a priority here in the district, and it’s very hard to do at a distance. So, we stole this idea from some other districts who’ve done it and decided it would be a great way to be able to safely see them and say hello.”
Staff members from the Oregon School District held a parade on Friday as a way to interact with students during the stay-at-home order.
Oregon High School Principal Heidi Deininger said, “I’m hopeful that doing the parade today lets kids see that we are still here for you, and we are going to be here for you when this gets over.”
Faculty members drove through the parade route in their cars to follow social distancing guidelines.
Students lined the sidewalks and waved to their favorite teachers.
Third Grader Brody Fry said, “It’s been awhile since we’ve ever seen them, so we wanted to just stop by to say hi, because we can’t really see them as much as we used to.”
Some students said they wished they could be back in school.
Jenica Ciesiel, a freshman at Oregon High School, said, “I do miss it a little bit. I miss having a routine everyday and I miss seeing my friends.”
Tinley Fry, Kindergartener
“I’m missing all the teachers and my friends,” agreed kindergartner Tinley Fry.
The parade was voluntary for faculty members, but dozens showed up to participate.
“I know we’re desperately missing the kids, so I’m not surprised to see so many people,” Deininger said.
“There’s teachers here, there’s secretaries, paraprofessionals. I mean really, every type of staff member in our building is here in the parade.”
Cremeens tells me that the parade was part of a virtual “spirit week.” Monday through Thursday, students were encouraged to participate in theme days from home and share pictures or videos.
Today, everyone was decked out in their school colors.
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