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Woodland Consolidated School holds parade for students learning from home

WOODLAND, Maine — Roughly a dozen vehicles adorned with balloons and posters with positive messages drove by the homes of Woodland Consolidated School students in Woodland, New Sweden and Stockholm on Thursday. 

The parade was a way for staff at the school to show students that they are missed as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced students to learn from home, principal Susie Schloeman said. 

“We’ve been out of school since March 13 and we thought this would be a good way to go by their homes and let them know we miss them, that we’re still thinking about them, and to make a fun day out of a grim situation,” Schloeman said.

About a dozen cars drove by the homes of Woodland Consolidated School students in Woodland, New Sweden, and Stockholm on May 21. (Chris Bouchard | Aroostook Republican)

Because of social distancing, Schloeman said students have missed out on several activities. A week ago, the school would have held its regular senior citizens day, which involves putting together a performance for local seniors. The current situation will also cause students to lose out on the ACES (All Children Exercising Simultaneously) event and the yearly awards banquet, she said. 

The school is tentatively planning an outdoor graduation ceremony for the eighth grade class on June 6, which would involve award announcements made over a speaker and require guests to stay seated in their vehicles. 

While students are getting acclimated to distance learning, nothing can replace face to face instruction, Schloeman said. 

“It was really stressful for everyone at the beginning,” she said. “Everyone was overwhelmed. It’s an unknown area to be thrown into without any preplanning, but it’s been going a lot better now that everyone is settled into it.”

The stress has been particularly difficult for many local parents, she said. 

“I feel for the parents because a lot of them are still working, whether it’s from home or at a business, and trying to keep their children caught up academically,” Schloeman said. “It’s a huge amount of stress. Together, we will get through this.”

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