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Schools Battle Students’ COVID-19 Boredom With Drive-by Parades

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Sonora, CA — Some Mother Lode schools working to engage students and find ways to creatively interact during these days are literally, to quote a classic rock title, “taking it to the streets.”

Today beginning at 2:30 p.m., Sonora Elementary School teachers and staff participated in a “Bobcat Pride Staff Vehicle Parade.” The promotional flyer shared with students’ families reads: “We really miss our Bobcat families so we thought we would bring some Bobcat Pride to you!”

The event, which continued until around 4 p.m., followed the normal bus routes beginning with the blue route followed by the green, yellow and lastly purple routes. For the location of each route, click here.

Students were encouraged to wear the school’s blue and gold colors and wave out their windows as the Bobcat teachers and staff drive, shout out greetings and honk their vehicle horns around all the local neighborhoods. To view some video as seen from one of the neighborhood homes, click here.

The parade is part of a local wave that includes Belleview Elementary School in Sonora, which held a similar event last week, inviting the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, which shared a video (viewable in the image box video link).

On Monday, Columbia Elementary held its 49er Pride Staff Vehicle Parade, using the main bus routes as a guide to map it out. Amy Olenchalk, a school parent who organized the activity, says the feedback from students and their families was very positive. Besides the school’s regular teaching staff and office personnel, a popular substitute teacher and the school’s maintenence man took part.

“We’d love to be able to do something every week for our students,” Olenchalk says, adding that teachers are using video conferencing to personally check in with their students. Last week, the school organized a week-long Social Distance Week celebration, dedicating theme days for such activities as wearing pajamas and crazy socks.

As reported here, Tuolumne County Superintendent Cathy Parker informed Clarke Broadcasting on Monday about the launch of a new countywide collaborative for distance learning hosted on her office’s website. While it helps cover the education part of schooling, she lauds the schools’ extra outreach efforts such as the staff vehicle drive-by parades as “feel good educational moments.”