By Howard Monroe

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (CBS) — Parents in Montgomery County took action after the board of commissioners voted to move all classroom instruction to virtual for the next two weeks.

“Our message to Val is we’re not going to take this. Our children need to be in school,” said Jaret Gale.

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They brought that message to Dr. Val Arkoosh’s front door.

A group of parents from Montgomery County rallied outside the Chair of the Montgomery Board of Commissioner’s home Sunday morning.

This is after the board announced all schools will be closed in the county for two weeks following Thanksgiving.

“The reason for the uptick is coming from other sources and they’re playing this game where they shut the schools down. It just doesn’t make any logical or scientific sense,” Gale said.

Gale organized the protest and says his 13-year-old daughter was a straight-A student before the lockdowns in March. But he says her grades and mental health deteriorated in the months that followed.

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“She attempted suicide. Thankfully everything is OK, she is OK, but as a parent that is your greatest fear,” he said.

The county’s board of health voted unanimously to close schools beginning Nov. 23. The plan is to have them reopen on Dec. 6.

Eyewitness News reached out to Dr. Arkoosh for a comment and she said, “As a parent, I understand that the past 37 weeks have been extremely difficult for everyone in our community and I respect these parents for advocating for what they believe is best for their children. I want to make clear that I want in-person school to continue and based on our data in Montgomery County, our team believes this five to eight-day pause in in-person schooling will support this goal.”

The board said they anticipate families will gather for Thanksgiving and that limiting access to school buildings will lessen the potential exposure for students but parents question what comes next.

“They impose a two-week lockdown so we’re fine with that. But after that is where our concern is coming in from,” Gale said. “And what happens at Christmas? Are we going to do the same thing? Every holiday we’re just going send our kids home for two weeks? What kind of message does that send to our children?”


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