Alexandria Teacher Runs 18 Miles to Give Students A Human Touch in Distant Learning

Alexandria Teacher Runs 18 Miles to Give Students A Human Touch in Distant Learning

There is no school bus from home anymore. No lunch enjoyed in a cafeteria. And no free runs across the schoolyard during never-long-enough breaks. Students at Alexandria Country Day School (ACDS) are glued to the screens of their computers, like at every other school kid in the U.S., when the next class starts. Yet their home doorbells can ring any time and there might be just what they need during these difficult times: Human touch in education.

It is none other than their beloved Mrs. Shannon outside. She runs nearly a full marathon a day to visit each and every one of her students.


Remote But Connected With Alexandria Teacher!

Sarah Shannon is a second grade teacher at ACDS and regularly meets her bright minds on Zoom for small group work and one-on-one discussions as well as during live lessons. Their school has instituted a remote learning program since Virginia Governor Ralph Northam ordered all schools to close with a March 13th order to curtail the spread of COVID-19.

After six weeks into the remote learning program, Shannon knew her students were in need of a little boost. She also did miss seeing them in person a lot. So, she went ahead with a rigorous plan she had in mind for a while on April 24th. She first mapped out the students’ addresses and 20 minutes later she was already out on the porch in a nice running suit and comfortable shoes. The Alexandria teacher had an 18-mile course to complete to visit all the homes.

“I can’t feel my legs now but seeing my students was so worth it,” she said after all the visits were done.

Students Couldn’t Believe It 

What she did was a gesture of goodwill on the part of a dedicated educator and meant so much to the students and their parents.

“Mrs. Shannon is such an amazing teacher and went above and beyond to make these kids feel a little less alone during this really hard time,” said Lilly Harris, mother of Ellie Harris from Shannon’s class.

“My daughter really misses school and interacting with her friends and teachers, so when Mrs. Shannon surprised her at home Ellie was overwhelmed with excitement. She couldn’t believe that it was actually Ms. Shannon in person.”

COVID-19 is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease. The novel coronavirus, which causes it, was first spotted in mainland China in December last year but has since spread almost everywhere around the world. In five months, it has infected over 3.2 million people and claimed nearly 130,000 lives. The U.S. roughly accounts for a third of all infections and a fourth of all deaths globally. In Alexandria, there were 653 cases and 20 deaths as of April 28th, according to a Reuters tally.