DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - It's a really catchy tune, with a very clever and familiar hook about a very serious matter--How to remain socially distant and hygiene-conscious in a COVID-19 pandemic.
The men behind the performance are DeKalb County 5th grade Special Education teacher Sheldon Strickland and Rayshun Casey, who works in instructional technology for the school district. They penned the tune in October after carefully studying the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention guidelines and "Throw them Bows," the 2009 hit from Atlanta-based rapper Ludacris.
"The whole safety guidelines of the CDC and marketing that piece was just a way the students could feel inspired to continue to do these things," said Strickland, who teaches fifth-grade special education students at Kingsley Elementary in Dunwoody.
Both men say it was exciting to see high school band members, staff members, and even school board members playing such a critical role in the school district's COVID-19 campaign.
"We understand what they're going through and even though they're not in the classroom, they need to keep doing these steps to increase the chances of getting back into the classroom," said Casey.
DeKalb School Superintendent Cheryl Watson Harris has a couple of cameos in the video and said it was fun to have the students together in a socially distant space when the video was recorded last month. Don Roberts, the Director of Band and Orchestra for the school district, directed all of the high school bands that participated in the video.
"It was just a really nice time for us because as a school community, we don't really get a chance to be together. We're just really grateful Ludacris gave us permission to use the song," said Watson-Harris. “It's not just about just shaking hands anymore. It's about how can you show the same love to your friends, not by shaking hands or giving them a hug but in a way that keeps us safe."
The superintendent said DeKalb students will not return to in-person instruction until the county has 100 or fewer new cases of COVID-19 for 14 consecutive days.
"Right now, we're at 250 and so that's clearly going in the wrong direction. We are hopeful that we can all band together because we all want to be back in school and throw them bows and be together in a physical space," said Watson-Harris.