WAKEFIELD — A group of Wakefield teachers decided to take to the streets to reconnect with students they have not seen since Wakefield Community Schools closed its doors last week.
Jaime Manz, Wakefield Elementary School kindergarten through third-grade reading specialist, saw a similar activity on Facebook and decided to rally the troops — so to speak — and reach out to at least see and wave at all the students they were missing.
“I just missed my kids,” Manz said. “When I saw that on Facebook, I just knew we had to do it.”
Manz was concerned about the students’ relationships with classmates, and teachers needed to reconnect as best as possible under the circumstances.
“Just to see they were all right and for them to see we were all right was important,” Manz said. “And we wanted to show them (the students) we still care about them and miss them.”
The students were notified of the cruise, scheduled for Monday afternoon by Facebook and the Alert Now system Wakefield Community Schools uses to notify teachers and parents of school closings and immediate information.
“We wanted to make sure the students living outside of town knew we had a plan for them as well,” Manz said. “Those students were asked to be along Main Street for the caravan to drive past and wave.”
About 15 teachers in several vehicles formed the caravan led by Jerad Wulf, principal at Wakefield Elementary.
“We had to keep our social-distancing rules, so it took quite a few vehicles,” Manz said.
The caravan canvassed the entire town, and it was great therapy for the teachers for sure.
“I just wanted to stop, get out and give them all a huge hug,” Manz said. “We really care about our students — more than they will probably ever know and we just miss them.”
She also indicated the timing of the trip around town seemed necessary now as the area possibly could be shut down even more.
“We knew we had to do it now just in case,” she said. “We all hope this will be done soon, but we really have no idea.”
She also offered encouragement.
“First of all, I would like to thank the Wakefield Schools’ administration and school board for allowing this to happen,” Manz said. “And I just want to tell everyone, we will get through this.”