Kelsey Pavelka, a second-grade teacher from Indiana, cheered her students up with hugs after she and her wife invented a genius "quarantine hug door."
As the pandemic continues to force us into isolation, we're all experiencing some form of skin hunger. That's the desire for touch when someone experiences little to no touch from other living things. Even a simple fist bump or a hug can help you feel less anxious and alone - and more loved. Kelsey Pavelka, a second-grade teacher from Indiana, came up with a genius way to fix the problem. With some help from her wife Shelby Pavelka, she invented a "plastic hugging door." They covered the front door to their house with plastic and cut out arm holes so the teacher could hug her students, CNN reports.
Kelsey took to Facebook to share their inventive solution. Posting photos of it, she wrote, "QUARANTINE HUGS. Shelby made our front door into a plastic wall with built-in armholes for HUGGING and I invited all my students over. Cue all the happy tears. They came. We hugged. We talked and laughed and hugged some more." The images displayed Kelsey standing inside her house with the door open and students hugging her with a plastic sheet in-between them. The Pavelkas created the plastic door with the use of 12 reusable bags - and a tiny pinch of creativity. In order to maintain hygiene and safety, students had to disinfect the surface, hug their teacher, then disinfect the surface once again. There is a variety of disinfectants placed nearby as well as a stool to help shorter children reach the armholes.
When she informed students that they were welcome to come to her house for some hugs, they were ecstatic. "Most students ran up to my door squealing!" Kelsey told CNN in an interview. "Then we [hugged] a bunch of times and [talked] about all the things we've been doing. There's usually a lot of jokes told and dance moves on display!" Evidently, the hugs were a small break from the everyday mundanity and loneliness of self-isolation and learning from home. According to the teacher, she initially saw the idea on TikTok. She thought it would be a great thing to try out herself. She stated, "Many parents have shared that their students really needed this."
The hugging setup, Kelsey explained, has proven especially helpful for those students who had felt depressed lately. It was a moment of brief but important connection. One parent said, "When they got back from my house, [my child] hopped in the kitchen to make himself grilled cheese and he hasn't wanted to do that in over a week." As of now, 14 students have visited her. Several parents weighed in on the experience on Kelsey's Facebook post. They said they loved the idea and rained down praise on the teacher. More students are definitely going to stop by in the coming weeks.