CONWAY — Local educators are going on a road trip this afternoon, figuring that if the students can’t come to school, they will head out to see them.
Staffers from Conway Elementary School, John H. Fuller Elementary and Pine Tree School plan to caravan local bus routes to wave to their students, who have been doing remote learning at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We miss you, that’s the message,” said Danielle Nutting, John H. Fuller principal, who came up with the idea Thursday.
Schools in the Granite State have been closed since March 16 following Gov. Chris Sununu's orders to do remote education at least through May 4.
“As much as the students miss us, we miss them,” said Pine Tree Principal Aimee Frechette. “We’re really looking forward to seeing as many kiddos as we can.”
Similar school caravans have been popping up across the country, with students and teachers making signs saying how much they miss each other.
The teachers plan to caravan in cars, trucks and SUVs while parents and students are encouraged to watch and wave from their driveways.
For John Fuller students, Nutting said the parade of vehicles is scheduled to leave Kennett High at 2:30 p.m. and follow the same food delivery routes that have been in place for the past several weeks.
It will follow this route: Redstone Monument, Luchador, Sunset Hill, Valley View Road, Artist Falls Road/Thompson Road, Colonial Motel, North Conway Community Center/Ski Museum, Grove Street, Kearsarge Road, Hurricane Mountain Road, Ledgeview/Crestwood, Intervale Cross Road, Sugar Shack Lane, Intervale Motel, Neighbor’s Row, Ledgewood/Route 16, River Road, West Side Road, Birch Hill, Blueberry Lane, Randall Farm Road, West Side Road, Dandiview Road and Hussey Farm.
“Staff is very excited to wave to students and families,” Nutting said. “We want to reiterate the importance of maintaining social distancing while waiting for the parade to pass. Please be sure to maintain at least 6 feet between other families and/or please stay in your cars. The safety of everyone is our first priority."
She added: “We encourage students and families to make signs and wave. If you live in a neighborhood in which our caravan parade will not be traveling, please feel free to drive and park along our route. We are looking forward to seeing many of you on Friday.”
For Pine Tree School students, the caravan of staff cars will leave at 1:45 p.m., following the school bus routes, starting at the Conway Police Department, heading down East Conway Road; right at Sherman Farm and right in Fryeburg onto Route 302; then left onto Old Mill Road and up Davis Hill; down Brownfield Road past Pine Tree School; left onto Route 302 through Center Conway Village; left onto Odell Hill Road and left onto Stark Road, and at the end of Stark Road the caravan will disperse.
Conway Elementary Principal Jason Robert said he “can’t wait” to see his fellow Cougars. The Conway El caravan also will depart 1:45 p.m., and then follow bus routes through the neighborhoods, following the same food service delivery routes.
“The school just isn’t a school without the kids,” Frechette said. “Even just seeing them for a few minutes is going to make a world of difference for all of us.”