8th grader’s sudden death from COVID shocks her small Mississippi community

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT
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RALEIGH, Miss. (WLBT) - The pandemic is taking its toll on young lives.

An eighth grader in Smith County died of the virus over the weekend. Her sudden illness and death is sending shockwaves throughout the small close-knit community.

“It’s a reality now more so than ever,” said Pastor Dr. Strick Strickland.

He is a family friend of 13-year-old Mkayla Robinson who died suddenly this weekend after contracting COVID. He grew up with Mkayla’s mother and said her death is a painful and shocking truth for her family and the Smith County community.

The young Sylvarena resident attended Raleigh High school where she was an honor student and was described as “the perfect student” and that “every teacher loved her and wanted 30 more just like her.”

She played the flute.

“Just this tragedy set all of us back. It’s something that we all feel,” said Strickland. “It’s a fear that all of us wake up to and have to face the reality of when we walk our children to the bus stop in the morning.”

The family said Mkayla developed a sore throat and stayed home from school Thursday and Friday. She was diagnosed with the virus Friday. She passed away Saturday.

“That was sad that happened to that child,” said Erica Epting.

The Smith County resident has two children who attend Raleigh High School and believes all students should be vaccinated and wear masks at all times.

“I thought it was sad because the child had gone to the hospital, but they sent her home that same evening knowing she was sick,” said Epting. “They should have sent her to a hospital to get her some help.”

Parents are praying for the family and are concerned about their children’s safety.

The school’s former band director lost his battle with COVID just weeks ago. His wife also died from the virus days later.

Donations are being raised to help Mkayla Robinson’s family with burial assistance. You can contribute at the Cash App $Mykel Robinson.

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