Even under the masks, smiles and tears of joy were common reactions during the reunion between students and teachers at schools in the Adventist Education Network in the cities Itabuna and Ilhéus, in the south of Bahia, Brazil. With the suspension of face-to-face classes as a way to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus earlier this year, students and teachers have seen themselves only in the virtual environment. For this reason, on July 3 and 8, these schools promoted the Drive-Thru da Saudade, during which the teachers greeted, in a safe and creative way, students who stopped by in their cars.
For Joelma do Vale, director of the Adventist Church's education department for the southern region of Bahia, the occasion was very significant for everyone involved.
“We are going through an atypical and very difficult time for families,” she says. “There are many children suffering at home with this distance from school, missing their teachers and classmates very much. This event was very important to strengthen this relationship, kill some of the homesickness, and reinforce words of hope. After all, all this will soon pass.”
Beyond the classroom
Posters, banners, and even colorful clothes were used by the teachers, but some students were also prepared to return the affection. Professor Jamille Oliveira, from the Ilhéus unit, won a personalized cake with a photo of her and one of her students. In Itabuna, one of the students took a sign that said, “Aunts, I miss you. Kisses. This will pass."
"It was very exciting,” expresses Neilma, a teacher in Ilhéus. “We saw excited parents and happy students. Seeing their eyes was important to each of us. This meeting will go down in history.”
Helena, a 2nd year student in Ilhéus, also described her feelings: “I was thrilled when I saw my teachers saying my name. I miss them a lot, you know.”
Classes will continue to take place via digital platforms until new orders from government authorities are published.