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Monroe School Board member recovers from COVID-19, weighs in on schools reopening



MONROE, La. – After a personal battle with COVID-19, Monroe School Board member Bill Willson believes kids and teachers can safely return to the classroom.

In June, both he and his wife tested positive for the virus after she attended a small party at a friend’s house. They’ve since fully recovered.

“One of the people there had the virus, contracted it a week earlier, got a positive result later that week and advised everyone to get tested,” said Willson.

We asked Willson if experiencing coronavirus first hand has swayed his opinion about school’s resuming in-person classes.

He believes it should still happen. This is why.

“I believe by sending our kids to school, the benefits outweigh the dangers of not sending them to school,” said Willson.

Some of the benefits Willson mentioned include early detection of learning impairments, meals for kids in economically challenged households and creating safe spaces.

According to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, the number of suspected child abuse reports has decreased since schools closed in mid-March, but that does not mean it stopped.

Willson sees a direct correlation with teachers as the number one reporters of child abuse.

“Each teacher in our school system is a mandated reporter, as are school board members. So if we see situations that there could be child abuse we have to report that. Well if the child is not in school then teachers aren’t there to see it. That’s one of the reasons why the reported cases are down so much,” said Willson.

Willson does want to make one thing clear, the school board is not taking this lightly.

Students and teachers have the option to opt for virtual learning, but he believes they have a solid plan in place to protect everyone no matter their decision.

“I think we’re doing the right things in the precautions we’re taking. We are taking it seriously,” said Willson.

Willson says each school will be supplied with a proper amount of PPE, social distancing will be strictly enforced and temperatures will be checked for each person entering a building.