‘Mr. COVID is a germ’: Hinds Co. elem. teacher writes books for kids

Updated: Dec. 24, 2020 at 3:36 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - An 18-year school teacher has taken her virtual and in-person learning challenges and put them into books to help kids learn.

Roshunda Black-Mitchell, an author and teacher at Gary Road Elementary School has published two new children’s books called All Kinds of Face Masks and Not So Virtual: Encouraging Students Through Virtual Learning.

The educator saw a need to help four and five-year-olds embrace learning in a pandemic.

“It was so hard trying to get my students to keep their face masks on because they had so many questions. I explained to them that COVID-19 is a germ and Mr. COVID is a germ we can’t touch, which is why we hug each other right now,” Black-Mitchell said. “I also told them in addition to loving others, we should practice hugging ourselves.”

Mitchell couldn’t believe the response.

“The light bulb went on. They got it,” Black-Mitchell smiled.

The Gary Road Elementary School teacher said the purpose of her second book is about encouraging kids to love all styles of learning, whether in class or online.

“I included virtual students in every assignment so they could understand- even though you miss circle time or nap time or miss your friends- we are still together,” she said. “Our bodies are made to move, so I got parents at home to help bring everything to life!”

In the last reading assessment before the pandemic, one in four Mississippi students failed on their first attempt at the 2019 Third Grade Reading test; the highest failure rate since the test has been in existence.

It’s too early to tell the impact of the pandemic on Mississippi’s 2020 reading scores, but nationwide, more students than ever got F’s in the first term of 2020-21.

Many Central Mississippi report cards begin trickling in after the holidays.

Meanwhile, Roshunda Black-Mitchell is donating her books to Gary Road Elementary, several daycares in her community, and UMC Children’s Hospital to help kids turn obstacles into learning opportunities.

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