In what began as a “parade” (teachers in their own personal vehicles) as a way for Bulloch County teachers to “see” their students, ended mid-route due to concerns of large crowds gathering before they were able to visit many of the neighborhoods. Social media also exploded with concerned citizens afraid this would encourage children to not comply with the social distancing order in place.
Hayley Greene, Public Relations Director for Board of Education, released this statement, “Unfortunately, even though William James Middle School and Julia P. Bryant Elementary administrators had cleared this activity with law enforcement and even had a Sheriff’s Deputy driving the route with them, and they had communicated with families prior to the activity and encouraged everyone to be sure to be safe and maintain social distancing, some did not heed these cautions, so for safety the Sheriff’s Department asked the schools to end the joint drive by faculty parade early. If the schools did not get to see some students, they are asking them to share a picture of their family or their sign on either the JPBES or WJMS Facebook sites. We encourage everyone to be safe and be well.”
We are including a live stream here so students can see their teachers. Echoing Haley, we also encourage students and their families to post pictures of themselves and a shout out to their teachers on the JPBES, WJMS and Grice Connect Facebook sites. This will allow the teachers to see “virtually” your appreciation for their wonderful gesture.
We are living in crazy times. We must do everything we can to shut the virus down. We agree.
However, we also must encourage and promote kindness, generosity and ideas that foster and encourage each other which are needed now more than ever.
Grice Connect shared a picture in the original post announcing the “parade” route. The picture was taken in 1958 in a very different Downtown Statesboro. Highly concerned social media commentators, saw the picture of a parade and didn’t take the time to open and read the story, which clearly stated the purpose and location of the parade’s visits. Being that today is April 1st, caused others to think it was a joke – promoting a real parade through the streets of downtown. Obviously this wasn’t the best picture to use and for that we sincerely apologize. Our goal was to help communicate quickly what we thought would be a positive story for our community. In doing so, we selected an image that depicted a parade from the 50’s.
As stated by Hayley Greene the reason the parade was cancelled was because people along the route were gathering in groups of 10 or more that caused concern. It was not the concern on social media, or the in poor taste picture we used.
Putting aside the missteps and concerns of our co, we at Grice Connect want to send out a HUGE GRICE GOOD to these wonderfully kind and compassionate teachers, administrators and staff who came together today with one goal in mind and that was to share their love and concern with their students. This is inspiring to us that wanted to do something wonderful for theirs students. Something they have seen played out in community after community all over our country.
Students enrolled in the Bulloch County School System have not seen their teachers since Friday, March 13. The school district closed on March 16 and will remain closed through at least April 24 due to public health concerns and our state’s and nation’s attempts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
For faculty at Julia P. Bryant Elementary School and its feeder school, William James Middle School that is just too long. JPBES Principal Pam Goodman and WJMS Principal Julie Mizell and their teachers put together an extensive parade to let students see their teachers while still maintaining proper social distancing. They have alerted law enforcement about the event as well.
The social and emotional separation from their teachers is especially difficult for younger students who may have concerns about whether their teachers are safe and healthy. This is a creative way to try and give as many students as possible a friendly wave and hello.
Teachers throughout the district are also contacting their students by phone or email at least twice each week to check on how they are doing academically, socially, and emotionally. The school district is providing digital and print resources to students and teachers are staying connected through student email and Google classroom accounts during the closure. The intent is to keep children engaged in learning until they can return to the classroom