• Sun. Nov 29th, 2020

Georgia teachers’ COVID-19 back-to-school video goes viral

Cheerleading coaches and high school teachers Callie Evans and Audrianna Williams can add “rapper” to their résumés.

The best friend duo went viral after writing, rapping and dancing in their own back-to-school video over the breezy flow of Jack Harlow’s “Whats Poppin” — a viral TikTok hit that peaked at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 this summer.

Williams and Evans first started producing end-of-year jams four years ago when Williams started teaching. This year, they wanted to welcome students back to Monroe Comprehensive High School in Albany, Georgia, one of the regions in the U.S. hit hard by the coronavirus.

The main inspiration, the teachers said, was to motivate students returning to remote instruction.

“We wanted to get them excited about virtual learning,” Evans said. “We wanted to grab the students’ attention, meet them where they were and write about what was affecting them.”

Recruiting the school’s cheerleading team as backup dancers, the teachers rap about overcoming the woes of remote learning and the pandemic — all over a perfectly mulled tone of confidence and charismatic bravado.

“You better pass my class no floppin’/ Gon’ log in, every day, every morning,” the teachers rap. “COVID-19 had us stressed, but it’s nothing/ We gon’ overcome, that’s facts no bluffing/ Wear your masks, wash your hands, keep a safe distance.”

The entire production — from writing to recording to filming to editing — all took place over the course of a week.

“It was a tight schedule and a lot of work, but so rewarding for our students,” Williams said. The music video, first posted on Evans’ Instagram before classes started Monday, provided the “perfect icebreaker” to kick off the school year, the teachers said.

“Students were so excited to meet us,” Evans said. “They wanted to know who we were, ask us questions. It’s amazing to just vibe and connect with my students through a screen.”

The high school — one of three in the Dougherty County School System — will monitor COVID-19 cases each day, a school official said. Parents can choose between in-person or remote instruction when there is a rolling average of days with a low number of cases.

Dougherty County, with a population of almost 90,000, has reported at least 2,863 COVID-19 cases and 172 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Georgia has been among the hardest-hit states in the U.S., recording almost 250,000 COVID-19 cases and over 4,900 deaths.

For now, Evans and Williams are basking in this moment while continuing remote instruction.

“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” Williams said. “It’s kind of crazy and unbelievable to see how much love we’ve received, just to see how far the video has reached,” she said.

As of Aug. 21, the video has garnered more than 6.2 million views on Twitter.

After the video went viral, director Jamel Overstreet shared a few words of his own with students on Instagram: “If Mrs. Evans or Mrs. Williams is not your teacher, please contact your advisor.”