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'It's hard not to have them around every day': Teachers parade through neighborhoods to see students

Teachers from Portland and Gresham waved hello from their cars as students lined the street at a safe social distance.

PORTLAND, Oregon — After weeks of school closures due to COVID-19, several students and teachers reunited Friday, from a distance.

Teachers from Maplewood Elementary School in southwest Portland organized a parade. Teachers drove through the school’s neighborhoods where students and families lined the streets.

“It's hard not to have them around every day,” said Maplewood fourth grade teacher Christy Caton. “I feel like every day we're in this Twilight Zone world where nothing is real and we're just trying to navigate one day to the next.”

One of Caton’s students named Austin got to wave hello as Caton drove by. Asked what he missed most about his teacher, Austin replied “Everything.”

Austin’s grandmother Laura Smith said she’s grateful for teachers’ continued dedication.

“The teachers we have at Maplewood have gone out of their way to help with assignments,” said Smith. "Dropping off books at the house after sterilizing them.”

Teachers from East Orient Elementary School in Gresham drove by students and families Friday morning, escorted by Gresham Police. Staff from Prescott Elementary school in northeast Portland also threw a teacher parade.

By the time it’s safe for schools to reopen, Caton said she hopes her students will have learned something important about themselves and their families: What it means to stay strong and keep going.

“Resilience,” said Caton. “What we do when something affects our entire community, our entire world.”

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