SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Tuesday marks three weeks since students across the state have been home, learning remotely.
However, teachers at one local school are doing their best to stay connected.
It's been a tough few weeks with no school because of the coronavirus, many students and teachers are having to figure things out from home.
"We're really trying to keep a routine schedule with virtual classes and then teachers have jumped on board with Google Classroom and with Zoom at times. I'm holding a parent meeting this afternoon using Zoom. We're having weekly faculty meetings using Google Hangout. We're trying to maintain that sense of community and belonging and that's the toughest challenge when we're all living virtually,” said Melissa Earls, head of Academy Hill School in Springfield.
Earls told Western Mass News in her 20 years of teaching experience - four years with Academy Hill School - this entire situation is completely new to her.
“I have never, this is quite unprecedented. I have never seen anything like this,” Earls said.
Despite the obstacles, Earls said teachers, faculty, and staff came together and sent a reminder to the students while lifting their spirits.
"We're all still here, we're all struggling through this together and that the most important thing they can do these days is to stay safe, stay joyful, and to know that there's going to be another side through all of this,” Earls added.
Since students can't come here to Academy Hill School to learn, their teachers came up with a new way to reach out and give them support.
Earls said the idea came from their kindergarten teacher Jen Grenier.
"She said ‘We should do some kind of video, some shout-out.’ The teachers really miss the kids,” Earls explained.
Seeing trending videos of sports teams doing this, Earls told us they decided to put their own twist to it.
"…But what do we do? We read, we're teachers, we use books. Let's each of us pass a book that meant something to us to our class to what we teach,” Earls noted.
The video shows each teacher, at home, picking up a book they're reaching with the class, sharing a personal message and then passing it along.
Earls said the message to their students is very clear.
"We miss you, we love you, we can't wait to see you again. We want to give you hope and we want you to know that your're still part of this community, even though we can't be together in the same physical space right now.” Earls noted.
Earls said seeing the students' responses made it all worth it.
“I was watching their faces at the bottom of the screen and you could see the emotion,” Earls said.