Chalk it up: Florida teacher’s message brings students comfort during coronavirus pandemic

NAPLES, Fla. — While online classes began Monday in southwest Florida, one fifth-grade teacher could not wait. Rayna Overmyer spent last weekend driving to her students’ homes and leaving personal chalk messages on their sidewalks.

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Overmyer, known as “Mrs. O” to her students at Laurel Oak Elementary School in Naples, was an immediate hit among her students. One sidewalk chalk note read, “I’m thinking of you. I miss you! Hope to see you soon! Mrs. O,” the Naples Daily News reported.

"She was just so excited,” Daniela Sapkar, the parent of one of Overmyer’s students, told the newspaper. “She got really nostalgic, saying she just wants to go back to school.”

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Overmyer spent the past week preparing to use an online learning system. Teachers can send video, assignments and instant messages to students, the Daily News reported. In Florida, students are expected to physically return to class April 15, but Overmeyer said she misses the teacher-to-student interaction in the classroom.

“(The students) teach me things just as much as I teach them, and that’s what I miss -- the life and energy they bring,” Overmyer told the newspaper. “It’s not even the academic and teaching piece of it. It’s their interactions that make (the classroom) lively.”

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“(Overmyer) sort of connects with kids at a different level,” Sapkar told the Daily News. “She’s that one teacher kids walk around and get to say, ‘I have Mrs. O.’”

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