HALEYVILLE - Cheers, friendly faces and waves set a festive and positive atmosphere for the start of Haleyville Elementary School, which will be this Thursday, Aug. 20. A week before school starts, last Thursday, Aug. 13, lines of vehicles containing parents and students drove by starting from 20th Avenue, through the perimeter of the parking lot and around to the main side of the building at the front entrance doors. There, teachers, wearing face shields and displaying colorful banners and signs cheered and greeted each and every student in the drive-by format. This marks the first time the elementary school has done a back to school parade, but this year circumstances required it due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Schools have been out since mid March, per an order by Governor Kay Ivey, when the virus pandemic began multiplying the the state. Teachers are excited about returning to school but are stressing that such will be done in a safe manner, in order to put to ease fears among teachers and students, stated Elementary Principal Christy Bice. Bice and Elementary Assistant Principal Emily Johnson met vehicles in the line before they reached the front entrance. Bice and Johnson handed out treat bags containing school supplies and a few surprises. Then, as the long line of vehicles progressed toward the front of the school, teachers would be holding up signs showing their grade level as well as signs showing their names to students. This drive-through format was the best way to social distance while keeping the momentum high for the start of school. Bice noted the parade was an opportunity for students to ride by and see many new teachers coming onboard this new school year. Bice, Johnson and others even sported the theme of celebration Happy New Year. “There’s a lot of anxiety going into this school year because we’ve been out for so long,” Bice said. Since COVID-19 cases are still high in the area, the elementary school wanted to do this parade to put people’s minds at ease and let parents or guardians know that staff would do everything they can to keep these students as safe and healthy as possible entering a new year, Bice indicated. She also wanted each and every student to know they are loved. Susan Lawson was thanked by Bice for providing the yard party atmosphere for the back to school parade. About 10 percent of the Haleyville City School student population will be staying home the first nine weeks at least to do remote or virtual online studies during the pandemic.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.