Principal of local intermediate school, family battle COVID-19

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Paul Offill, the principal of River Valley Intermediate School in the Midway ISD, his wife Emily, and their daughter Katylu, 14, and son Marc, 12, are all self-quarantined at home and “hanging in there” after they were diagnosed with the new coronavirus.

Paul Offill, the principal of River Valley Intermediate School in the Midway ISD, his wife Emily, and their daughter Katylu, 14, and son Marc, 12, are all self-quarantined at home and “hanging in there” after they were diagnosed with the new coronavirus. (Courtesy photo)

Emily tested positive on March 30, Paul on March 31 and the two children just days later.

"We are slowly getting better,’ Offill said.

“None of us have preexisting health conditions so that may be the thing saving us."

Offill says the family had not traveled anywhere recently, evidently contracting the virus through community spread.

The four family members have not experienced severe respiratory issues or needed to be hospitalized so they are quarantined at home recovering from the virus while closely monitoring themselves.

"We're constantly taking our temperatures and constantly checking oxygen saturation and blood," Offill said.

"We really just have been watching those two things mostly."

Paul says his wife has had the hardest time with the virus experiencing persistent flu-like symptoms for 12 days now.

Emily, who is an occupational therapist in home health, started feeling bad with a cough and bad headaches followed by fever and body aches.

She at first thought she had a more common virus.

"We had her tested that Monday," Paul said.

"Even up until then we weren't thinking it was coronavirus, we were thinking she was just sick. But, once she lost her smell and taste, we knew it was more serious."

Around the same time Emily lost her taste, Paul developed a cough and became extremely fatigued.

"I didn't want to get out of bed," he said.

"You feel like you got run over by a truck."

The two children, he says, showed very little symptoms other than low grade fever early on and were only tested because of their mom's positive test result.

The last few days for the kids have been a little more trying.

"My daughter's symptoms just started in the last couple of days,” he said.

“She's tired and her legs hurt," Offill said.

"And my son has aches and has lost his sense of taste."

Offill says while he knows the virus is affecting people in all different ways it has attacked his family much like the seasonal flu.

"It's mimicked the flu for us from the body aches and exhaustion and just feeling crummy," he said.

Offill says he's thankful he and his wife have not had more serious symptoms and admits it's been concerning to have young children fighting a virus with so many unknowns.

"Doctors all say the kids have not reported the serious problems but in the back of our minds that's our babies," he said.

Offill hopes sharing his story will drive home the importance of following social distancing guidelines as he believes many more people are carrying the virus and simply don't know it.

"I know there are people like me walking all over the place that have it that are passing it on to people that don't even know they have it."

The Offills say the outpouring of support from prayers to meals galore from church members, neighbors and friends has been overwhelming and the family wants everyone to know how appreciated it is.

"We're seeing a lot of good in people and trying to take the positives for that," he said.

Offill has been at River Valley Intermediate for four years, the first two as assistant principal and the last two as principal.

Before that he spent seven years as the head baseball coach at Midway High School.