Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
You can’t tell because of their masks but staff and parents at Sunset View Elementary School were all smiles Thursday night, laughing and waving as a stream of cars drove by the front of the school for Popsicles and ice cream sandwiches.
It was a different type of ice cream social with the COVID-19 pandemic keeping people at a distance, but still, families drove up to grab a treat and give a friendly greeting to teachers for a little slice – or scoop – of normal.
With classes happening remotely, kindergarten teacher Lee Anna Maestas got to meet some of her students in person for the first time Thursday.
“It’s exciting for us just to see the kids,” she said as staff waved signs to the cars driving off. “We miss them.”
Even with her face covered, she said, the elementary students are able to recognize her by her distinctive blue hair.
Maestas said the drive-thru ice cream social was a little way to potentially have a big impact – showing kids they are still cared for even if they aren’t coming into the classroom.
“The more socioemotional support the better,” Maestas said.
And it’s important for kids to feel seen outside of academics, she said.
Principal Linda Townsend-Johnson said this was the West Side school’s very first drive-thru ice cream social and the first recreational event of the year, too.
“Some other APS elementary schools have also held a similar event,” she said.
Sunset View got the word out to students and families through the school’s messenger system and social media. Teachers also reminded kids during online class.
Townsend-Johnson said about 100 families and 200 students came by.
Echoing Maestas, she said the point of the drive-thru is pretty simple.
“It helps maintain a sense of community with our families,” she said.
She said the school aims to create a partnership with parents – a goal that has become even more important during remote learning.
That’s why the drive-thru likely won’t be the only effort this year.
She’d like to continue getting creative to keep in touch with parents and students with other activities down the line.
“It’s simple but we get to see familiar faces,” Townsend-Johnson said.
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The Sunset View Elementary community passes out ice cream and welcomes families that drive by the front of the school for a socially-distanced ice cream social.