The newest effort to reach out to at-home students came from Rawhide Elementary School this week, with the entire staff collaborating to create a music video to post on Facebook.

The video starts with reading recovery teacher Evelyn Whited speaking the message of, “We miss you” to the students. Then the well-known beat of “Handclap” by Fitz and Tantrums takes over.

But the words are all different and so is the voice singing it.

One of the popular lines in the song has been changed to: “Everyday before I touch my face, I wash my hands with soap. I leave no trace.”

The message of the video is simple — Wash your hands — with clips of teachers and staff demonstrating. But it was also an important opportunity for the Rawhide staff just to reconnect with their pupils in some way.

It was a total team effort to put the video together and the idea started in Rawhide’s Sunshine Committee, which is tasked with raising morale of staff and students. A group text was sent out to about five teachers asking about the idea and within 30 minutes, the process was off and running, music teacher Mary Knudsen said.

Knudsen was the obvious choice to be the voice over and handle music production. Jennifer Farnes, an English language arts teacher, exercised one of her hidden talents to rewrite the entire song herself.

“I’m a dork and I love parodies. It took me like 20 minutes,” Farnes said. “I thought we could take this current crisis and be a little lighthearted, without being too lighthearted and teach something important at the same time.”

“Handclap” is a fast-paced song and Knudsen was impressed with Farnes’ ability to write lyrics that fit so well. Still, Knudsen said her “perfectionist” tendencies made the production process a lengthy one.

After about five hours of work, she finally made herself call it quits, but said she could’ve worked on it for a couple more days. She sang the lyrics and also added an echo effect to her voice and some melodies on Garageband.

“I was the voice behind the hand washing,” Knudsen said with a laugh. “It gave me something to accomplish and work on while I’m at home. … I just had a blast.”

The next step was getting staff to send in video clips of them washing their hands in their homes and all the Rawhide staff complied, principal Bertine Bahige said.

Whited was in charge of fitting all the pieces into the video and enjoyed seeing each staff member’s clips as she came across it.

“I kept thinking about how excited the kids will be when they see their teachers being goofy in their homes,” Whited said. “I think the kids will love it.”

Many of them had to break down some personal comfort levels to record themselves doing something silly, but she was pleased with the result.

The goal was to “do something from a distance” to touch base with students and also encourage them to “partake in the process of stopping the spread of this virus,” Bahige said.

“It was something that can be inspiring and something we can do in our environment to spread the word on health and social distancing,” he added. “We wanted to show the kids we miss them, and we’re thinking about them even from the confines of our homes.”

The simple truth is teachers in Campbell County are missing their students and they continue to find unique ways to show it.

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This content is being provided for free as a public service to our readers during the coronavirus outbreak. Please support local journalism by subscribing to the News Record here.

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