Winchester Police Officer Dustin Elliott explains to Clark Memorial Guidance Counselor Angie Cutrell which route to take in the Lakeview Homes subdivision on April 2 when teachers and school personnel in 30-plus cars participated in a parade to say hello from afar to their students who have been away from school due to the coronavirus threat.

Since students can’t be in school due to the coronavirus threat, Clark Memorial Elementary School teachers decided to have a special parade on April 2.

They drove more than 30 cars through neighborhoods, clad in balloons, and waved and cheered to let the children know how much they are loved and missed.

Of course, social-distancing recommendations were closely adhered to with teachers keeping safe detachment from the students as well as other teachers.

Teachers Wendy Capley, Kelli Cunningham, Hila Crabtree and Debra Vanzant organized the parade, assisted by Guidance Counselor Angie Cutrell, who has the best bearing on where most students live.

Capley said she got the idea from a Facebook post made by another Tennessee school and thought it would be a good idea to reach out to the students at a time when nothing at present seems normal.

Although the students have been given homework material that they will be submitting to be graded, the learning environment goes way beyond that, Capley said.

“School is more about the relationships you meld with your students,” she said. “We’re doing something different because we aren’t able to see them at school.

“By doing what we’re doing, it gives them some sense of security, and shows them that it’s all going to work out.”

Capley said the Winchester Police Department was instrumental in coordinating the parade route that extended through Lakeview Homes, North and South High streets, 12th and 13th avenues, North and South Vine streets, Sixth Avenue North, Style, South Shepherd and Gin Streets and Old Cowan Road.

Capley said plans are to have a parade once a week while a stay-at-home order is in effect.

She said the procession proved to be so popular that complaints were aired because some streets where students live were missed during the teachers’ first round.

She added that plans are to access as many students as possible in the coming weeks.

Capley extended her thanks to the Police Department for its involvement in leading the parade and making sure traffic was properly accommodated to allow a safe procession.

The route for Thursday’s 2 p.m. teacher parade includes North Vine Street, the Country Club area, Cumberland Place Apartments, Half Moon Road, Airport Acres and Merritt Mobile Home Village on Industrial Drive.