By Natasha Brown

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – Upset parents continued to protest the Montgomery County Board of Health’s decision to return all schools to virtual learning. That decision came last week in light of rising COVID-19 cases.

The parents say they want a choice when it comes to schools during the pandemic.

Parents advocating for in-person learning made their voices loud and clear. They gathered Tuesday morning outside the Montgomery County Board of Health office in Norristown. They could be heard chanting, “Schools, not screens!”

This is the second protest since Saturday where parents are calling for in-person learning. They say their kids are suffering.

“I don’t feel virtual school is the right thing for students,” a parent told Eyewitness News. “I don’t think it is the right thing for schools that have worked tirelessly and have worked really hard to keep the students safe and have done so rather successfully and therefore I don’t feel like this blanket mandate across Montgomery County is appropriate.”

Jamie Miller says her 11-year-old son is unable to learn virtually.

“This is parents, professionals that have children in school that see that the numbers are not spreading there and that they need to be staying in school,” Miller said. “My son started the hybrid schedule last Monday. Since March 13 he’s back in school for the first time. He’s not been so happy.”

Meanwhile, the board and county commissioner chair, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, said their support of the temporary order is to limit the potential of further COVID-19 spread across the community, particularly given their experience with the results of spikes after prior holidays during the pandemic.

The virtual school order goes into effect on Monday, Nov. 23, and lasts two weeks until Dec. 6 in hopes of mitigating the spread of the virus ahead of the holiday season.

The board says they will meet in early December to consider extending the order or allowing it to expire.

Parents for in-person learning say their kids will suffer.

“The children are suffering with their mental health. There’s social interaction for the youngsters. It’s impossible to replace kindergarten done behind a computer screen. It’s just impossible. It doesn’t work,” one person said.

Meanwhile, the Hatboro Horsham School District has sent a letter to parents saying that they will actually start all virtual learning even earlier because of spiking cases there.

They’re going to start on Thursday.

CBS3’s Natasha Brown contributed to this report.

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