The teachers and staff at Apollo Beach Elementary held a parade last month to show the students how much they missed them.

COVID-19 has recently made a huge impact on residents of all ages. Students especially are learning how to adapt to a new way of working and attending school.

The teachers and staff at Apollo Beach Elementary realized how all these changes are affecting their students and decided to host a parade to let them know they missed them and that they are still part of the school.

Alyssa Martin, a teacher at Apollo Beach Elementary, came up with the parade idea.

“My father sent me a video of some teachers driving by houses to see their students,” Martin said. “Due to the circumstances, it is unknown when and if we will see and be able to hug our students again. So, I thought that having a staff parade would be a fantastic way for us to ‘see’ our sweet children and families. We all missed our students very much and our teachers and staff knew that this would be a great way to see them as well.”

The parade took place on March 23, and more than 40 teachers and staff members, along with their spouses, children and fur children spent more than three hours driving through various communities in Apollo Beach.

“The logistics of the Apollo Beach Elementary staff parade were created and finalized in less than 24 hours of pitching the idea to the staff,” Martin said. “Our principal, Kelly McMillan, and assistant principal, Dr. Bradley Fuller, were on board with this idea and promoted it throughout our community. Valerie Dickson, our school counselor, and Tammy Holt, a parent in our community, also assisted with the logistics of the parade. I cannot thank them enough for all of their help and support.”

Julia Sarmiento-Cohen’s son and daughter are students at the school and the parade not only lifted their spirits, it made them proud to be a part of the school.

“My son’s teacher, Mrs. Seal, knew our home was not on the parade route and she personally reached out and called my son to check in and see how he was doing,” Sarmiento-Cohen said. “My daughter’s teacher, Mrs. Small, also face-timed my daughter to check in on her to tell her how much she missed and loved her.”

In the days since, many local schools have hosted parades for their students and teachers. The Florida Department of Education has directed all school districts in Florida to keep schools closed through Friday, May 1.