BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - A parade might be the last thing you’d expect to see as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread. But that’s exactly what has been happening in neighborhoods throughout South Mississippi.
Only, these parades are a bit different than the parades we know and love. Instead of floats, there are just cars. And instead of catching beads and other trinkets, the people are catching smiles and waves— from an acceptable social distance, of course.
With schools closed due to the pandemic, teachers are missing their students’ faces. To help spread some cheer, teachers and faculty members at Coast schools have been parading through their students’ neighborhoods so they can see the children they teach, albeit from at least six feet away.
In Biloxi, Jeff Davis Elementary teachers were excited to see their little ones.
“Since all the virus stuff happened, we’ve been missing our babies so when the email was sent out, I said, 'Of course, I’ll come and do the parade and wave and see my babies that I’ve been missing for two weeks,” said first-grade assistant teacher Jerrilyn Lanier.
From kindergartners on up, the students were excited to see their teachers and vice versa.
“That was awesome,” said Sawyer Norman, a Jeff Davis student.
The Jeff Davis family enjoyed the break from reality and the chance to tell their young students how much they were missed.
“We just heard that the teachers were doing a parade to lift spirits, so we wanted to be a part of it,” said Cristy Smith, who came out to watch the parade with her son Cam.
The parade lasted about two-and-half hours and included more than 40 neighborhood streets surrounding Jeff Davis Elementary.
Other schools across the Coast also got in on the fun, visiting their students. Teachers at Crossroads Elementary in Gulfport had fun waving at their students and seeing them standing outside holding signs that said “We miss you.”
With life turned upside down for so many right now, this small act was a way teachers, children, and parents could come together to share hope.
“We miss our kids and it’s such an unfortunate thing,” said fourth grade teacher Kesley Deschamps, who teaches at Crossroads. “We want to just help encourage them in this time when a lot of people are really afraid.”
“We just wanted to bring a little joy to the neighborhoods,” said Brittany Thompson with Crossroads Elementary. “We miss our kids a lot, and we miss our families a lot.”
Other videos of teachers parading through neighborhoods filled social media Tuesday, like this one of Beach Elementary teachers sending “air hugs” to students as they rode through the streets of Pascagoula.