MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) – We are all looking for new ways to safely connect with one another as social distancing continues. Recent efforts by a local elementary school to stay connected are gaining attention and growing in popularity.
The doors may be locked and classrooms empty, but students and teachers at Forest Avenue Elementary School in Middletown are still coming together.
Principal Beth Hayes says, “Our parent teacher group along with some of our teachers got together and devised the idea of having several ‘Grab and Go,’ events during this pandemic.”
The hope is to provide extra support for kindergarteners through 3rd graders and their families.
“They actually drive through our bus circle and we have a few stations set up. They come and pick up a baggy that’s full of materials. They might contain books, markers, sidewalk chalk……for earth day we gave water bottles. Things to make them feel connected,” said Principal Hayes.
The free event possible because of fundraising efforts from earlier in the year. Principal Hayes says the events are popular, with nearly half the student body coming out to participate.
“There’s lots of waving and clapping and shouting and honestly we’ve seen some tears from parents and the feedback has just been incredible. That sense of connection and community is still there and we just think that its so important,” she said.
Approval is required each time the event is held due to changing Covid 19 guidelines.
“We actually have a pretty detailed plan that we submit first to our superintendent for her approval and then it goes directly to the Middletown Chief of Police and he has to approve it. We have been asked to make certain changes and modifications so it is a little bit of work but i’m really happy because when we do it I feel like we are doing it safely,” said Hayes.
The school hopes to hold two more of these events before the end of the year and also a drive thru send off for the third graders moving on to Gaudet Middle School next year.
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