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River Mill Elementary School's annual ABC countdown to the end of the school year goes virtual amid COVID-19 outbreak

COURTESY PHOTO - A River Mill Elementary School student celebrates the "Harry Potter" series for book day in the school's ABC countdown.

"A" is for athletics, "B" is for books and "C" is for coloring in River Mill Elementary School's countdown to the last day of school.

With summer vacation on the horizon, River Mill students celebrate the final stretch of each school year with an ABC countdown, during which everyone dresses in a theme corresponding to a letter of the alphabet.

This year's event, which began Tuesday, April 28, has taken an online element since Estacada students are participating in virtual school days to facilitate social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"With the situation this year, we had some kid say that this is one thing they'd really miss," said

Jennifer Behrman, principal of River Mill Elementary School.

Families at River Mill received a list of themes for each day in the ABC countdown. But rather than wearing their outfits to school, students and families send in pictures of their alphabet-inspired wear, which are then shared in a school wide newsletter.

Students supported their favorite sports teams for athletic day and dressed up as characters from literature and posed with their current reads for book day. They showed off their best moves for dance day and drew pictures of expressive faces for emoji day. COURTESY PHOTO - River Mill students posed with their art for coloring day in their annual ABC countdown.

"It helps kids stay engaged," Behrman said, noting that many students have been participating in the program.

The ABC countdown also gives students a chance to practice skills in several academic areas — they complete a math equation based on the number of vowels and consonants in the word of the day.

Behrman added that the activity is positive for both students and staff members.

"Everyone feels connected. It allows (the students) to be a part of something," she said. "Seeing the kids' smiles helps the teachers, too."

COURTESY PHOTO - River Mill Elementary students take a photo with the stories they're reading for book day in their annual ABC countdown.

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