Springdale teacher shares her story about testing positive for COVID-19

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – A local teacher tested positive for COVID-19, now she’s home recovering while living with an at-risk child.

Kyla Gillespie is a single mom who-like any parent-relies on her job to care for her kids. She is a teacher at Springdale High School.

“You have to think about what’s best for your kids and that’s keeping them healthy but also you have to provide a roof over their head,” she said.

Gillespie’s daughter was born with health conditions impacting the lungs and airways, putting her at a higher risk for contracting the virus.

“I had no choice especially as a single mom to send her to school and my son and we just crossed our fingers and hoped for the best,” she said.

This became all too real after Gillespie tested positive for the novel coronavirus Thursday, September 24.

She said she wrote a letter to Governor Hutchinson and the Arkansas Department of Education asking leaders to consider high-risk families like her own before mandating a five-day in-person learning option. She says she never got a response.

“Not even a, ‘we understand your concern,’ just nothing. It’s beyond me,” she said.

Kim Mundell with the Arkansas Department of Education says they receive a lot of letters but it’s really up to the district to keep teachers as safe as possible. Trent Jones, Communications Director of Springdale School District, says they are doing just that.

“We hear you, we’re listening, we’re doing our very best to make sure we are implementing policies and procedures to the best of our ability to maintain safe systems so we can provide high quality education, he said.

Jones said Springdale Schools has scheduled two virtual preparation days for teachers to start learning how to teach online in case a transition is needed in the future.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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