It’s been two weeks since the teachers and staff at Travis Elementary School have seen their students, many of whom are stuck at home as the Houston area copes with the COVID-19 pandemic.
They’ll be reunited, albeit it from afar, on Friday afternoon.
Travis kindergarten teacher Kate Strempel said she and more than two dozen other teachers, staff and administrators, including principal Tom Day, will participate in a parade through the Woodland Heights neighborhood at 1 p.m. Friday. The teachers plan to form a line of cars that will zigzag their way between Studewood and Beauchamp streets, starting on Merrill Street to the north and ending on Euclid Street to the south.
“We’re kind of going crazy at home. We miss our kids,” Strempel said. “We’re a really close family at our school. We all are just super close and really involved. We’re trying to think of a way to practice social distancing but still see our kids.”
Strempel said the participating teachers have made personalized signs to display from their vehicles, which will be blaring music and honking their horns during the parade. Students and their families are asked to wave and watch the parade from their front porches, front yards or driveways.
Travis students who don’t live in the Woodland Heights also are encouraged to come to the neighborhood and watch from the curb – as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines and stay at least 6 feet away from each other.
“I know that a lot of Travis families are making signs and are going to have music playing on their porch,” Strempel said. “I think it’s going to be a huge turnout. I think it’s going to be really cool.”
Strempel said she got the idea late Wednesday afternoon from a teacher friend in Pearland and first reached out to Day to see if it could be done at Travis, a Houston ISD campus at 3311 Beauchamp St. Once she got the approval, Strempel said she and fellow kindergarten teachers Jessica Beechinor and Sarah Butler began spreading the word to other staffers as well as Travis families.
Strempel said Andy Sharp, the father of one of her students, is a Texas State Trooper and will lead the parade in his patrol car.
“I thought it would be cool if we had 12 cars,” Strempel said. “This has really gone above and beyond my expectations.”