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Carroll Fowler Elementary stages car parade for cooped up students
Caravan passes through surrounding neighborhoods
The Carroll Fowler Elementary School mascot was among the features of a March 24 parade in neighborhoods filled with students who are home now that school has been canceled. - photo courtesy of Ceres Unified School District

Carroll Fowler Elementary employees reconnected with their students in a heartwarming way this past week in light of the March 19 closure of all schools in Ceres because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Escorted by Ceres Police at 1 p.m. on March 24, teachers and staff paraded in their cars through the neighborhoods surrounding the school. Students and families waved and held signs as the caravan passed by.

“This isn’t a typical closure,” said Carroll Fowler Principal Emily Harry. “It was very unexpected. There are a lot of emotions right now. It’s so important to stay connected with our kids. We want to give them hope. We want to let them know that we’re here for them and we miss them.”

First-grade teacher Patricia Fareria and other staff members organized the event.

“The whole route took us 45 minutes,” said the principal. “We went through all the neighborhoods and park near the school. The most amazing part was the families. They went out of their ways to make signs and the students were wearing their red spirit shirts. It’s one of the most heartwarming experiences my staff has been through. It was so fulfilling.”

“Carroll Fowler is special,” added Harry, “We have an amazing culture. The parents show up to all of the events and are spirited.”

“The teachers invested their time to see their kids,” Ceres Unified Assistant Supt. Jay Simmonds said. “And their kids were happy to see them.”

Ceres Unified announced on Wednesday that school closures will be extended through spring to minimize the spread of coronavirus.  The decision was made in collaboration with the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Stanislaus County Public Health Department, and 24 other school districts in the county.

Guidance and directives came from State Superintendent of Instruction Tony Thurmond and Governor Gavin Newsom.

Students will complete the academic year from home.