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First-class learning

Schoolkids take virtual Post Office tour

Mason Erickson, a St. Mary Catholic School first-grader, retrieves the Priority Mail envelope that was mailed to him during the virtual field trip.

Class was in session for a group of Florida first-graders who recently toured their local Post Office despite schools being closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

St. Mary Catholic School in Rockledge worked with Post Office employees to create a virtual event that followed social distancing guidelines while showing students how the mail works.

During a video conference with the quarantined students, employees provided a historic overview of the Postal Service and led several demonstrations on how to properly address a letter and affix correct postage, and what happens behind the scenes.

In one activity that was simplified for the young audience, employees filled Priority Mail envelopes with a coloring book and crayons for each student and dropped them in the mail slot to begin their journey. Students saw the packages be retrieved and brought to the carriers responsible for delivering them.

One student received a surprise shout-out from his letter carrier, Kerry Paradise.

“Hi, Nicholas, I’m your letter carrier and I’ll be seeing you later today to deliver your package,” she said.

The first-graders asked questions about mail delivery, including what happens if a customer leaves mail in the box but forgets to raise its flag.

The students also learned what happens before letter carriers leave the facility to begin their deliveries each day.

“We walked outside to show how carriers load their vehicles with letter trays and parcels so they could see the amount of mail they handle every day,” said Rockledge Postmaster Robert Deane. “We also focused on safety by showing another carrier putting on her seatbelt and getting ready to pull out of the driveway so she could start making her rounds.”

St. Mary Catholic School posted a recording of the event on its Facebook page, where other schools expressed interest in holding similar virtual Post Office tours.

“The event turned out to be an informative and fun experience for everyone,” said Deane.