Atlantis health and physical education teachers bike 140 miles to visit their students during the school closure
There is no doubt that the sudden closure of schools last March was difficult on both students and their teachers, so Atlantis health and physical education teachers Bethany Daniels and Nathan Mello decided to do something about it. Together, the pair set off on a mission to bring smiles to the faces of Atlantis high school students and show them just how much they were missed.
Daniels is an avid cyclist, and so, to mark both National Physical Education Week (May 1-7) and National Bike to School Day (May 6), she decided that she would embark on a bike ride to visit the homes of each of her 9-12 grade students. She invited Mello along for the ride, dubbed “Bike to Student Days,” and he jumped on board.
“It was important for our students to know that we were united with them, and that during this health crisis, it was our role as health and physical education teachers to be sure our students were okay emotionally, socially and physically,” Daniels explained.
She got to work, mapping out a route that would cover 140 miles and take them to 268 homes in four communities – Fall River, Somerset, Swansea and Westport. The ride took place over eight days between May 6 and June 2 and took a total of 34 hours, 29 minutes and 19 seconds to complete.
School resource officer Scott Cabral joined the pair on the six Fall River routes, helping Daniels and Mello navigate city streets and locate some of the more hard-to-find addresses.
Daniels contacted families in advance to let them know when they would be riding by their house. Not everyone was home, but they did get to see and talk to 153 students and 86 parents/guardians.
“Pulling up to the house and seeing the kids was priceless,” Daniels said. “Some of the kids sat on their front steps waiting for us. When we came around the corner, they would jump up shouting ‘you’re here, you’re actually here, we miss you so much.’ It’s something I will never forget”
“I thought it was really nice of them to ride all around Fall River to see us,” senior Grace Kpor told the Herald News. “They also gave me a card and made the students feel really included.”
Families that were not at home for the visit often left notes on the door and small snacks on the steps. Daniels and Mello took selfies in front of those homes and posted the pictures on the Google Classroom so their students knew they were there.
“We made this ride because we care about our students and their well-being,” Daniels said. “It was important for Nate and I to see our students in person to make sure they’re okay. You can’t get the same personal interaction over a computer screen.”
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WJAR (Channel 10): 2 physical education teachers bike 140 miles to socially distance visit with students