NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Parents protested Saturday outside the Montgomery County health department. The board voted on Friday to shut down all school buildings for two weeks due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases. Some parents have challenged they’ll boot those officials out of office over this.
Outside the Office of Public Health in Norristown, students and parents of Montgomery County schools made it clear on Saturday. They want their kids back in the classroom.
“I am beside myself,” Jamie Miller, of Wissahickon, said. “I feel for these kids, they’ve been through enough.”
The board’s unanimous decision of a two-week hiatus was to ensure a better chance of keeping K-12 schools open heading forward, according to a statement by the county. They anticipate families will gather for Thanksgiving and that closing schools around the holiday will help limit potential COVID-19 exposure for students when classes resume on Dec. 6.
But some are wary this may mean more class time at home in 2021.
“We will give them the two weeks they’ve asked for,” Kaitlin Derstine, of Telford, said. “We are responsible parents and we’ll do what we need to do to fight COVID, but we will not accept a minute more.”
The county board of health says it’s concerned over outbreaks related to Halloween gatherings and youth sports, so this amounts to a preemptive move. But these parents claim they’ve gone too far.
“I think they’re grossly overreaching, and it’s actually becoming an abuse of our children,” Derstine said. “It’s denying them their right to education.”
“They need to let the individual districts make their own decisions based on each school,” Miller said.
The county did not react to the protest on Saturday, but protestors promised to bombard elected officials with phone calls, texts and emails should the schools be closed longer.
“They can sit in their offices for the length of time that they will serve,” Derstine said, “but we’ll ensure the next election, they won’t be reelected.”
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