Honks, sirens and cheers filled the streets of Aspen Friday afternoon as Aspen School District teachers drove through town to wave to students and their families. Educators decorated their cars with posters and cheered as they passed students lining sidewalks.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced students and teachers out of the classroom in mid-March and the district had to quickly transition online until the end of the school year. Dana Berro, an Aspen Middle School teacher and organizer of the parade, said that virtual learning has been difficult.
"We just miss our kids," Berro said. "We never really got to say goodbye."
Students were out of school on March 12-13 for parent-teacher conferences. The next week, the coronavirus pandemic closed down the district.
"[The school] is just such a sad little place right now," Berro said.
That's why Berro, along with other staff and community members, planned a parade for students.
"Getting to come out and laugh and decorate your cars and wave at them...it felt like we got to be together again," she said.
Berro said the pandemic's effects on the school district have been hard on both teachers and students. She hopes the parade offered some relief from the stress of the virus.
"Most importantly, we got to remember how much we just love each other," Berro said. "We know that [our students] are having a hard time too and they miss us, so we just wanted to have a chance to reconnect."