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Parents protest in Frankfort to demand schools reopen for in-person classes

Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 12:10 PM EDT
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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Protestors gathered on the state courthouse steps Monday to demand that schools reopen to students.

This while the state’s top health official told school superintendents that the virus climate is making these decisions extremely difficult.

Governor Beshear has recommended that all schools wait until late September to have children back in classrooms.

The people started gathering around 10:30 Monday morning, wanting schools to reopen and concerned about fact that many schools won’t reopen to in-person instruction until late September.

“We cannot be living in fear, we can’t teach our children to live in fear,” said parent Kendall Pischke.

The parents tell us that they simply believe that their children deserve to be back in school. They say they need to be back in school.

“We feel like there needs to be education, socialization, and for a lot of these kids this is their safety net,” Pischke said. “They need to be at school.”

Another parent said that because of the fact that children are not back in school, they fear that there could be worse consequences of that.

”We are going to see an increase, we’ve already seen an increase, suicide rates are going up, domestic violence is going up, sexual abuse is going up,” Jenny Patten said. “Who is going to take care of these victims? Societal implications are going to plague these communities for years to come.”

Many people on both sides of this debate want to know when things will start getting back to normal. Health officials say it’s all dependent on a vaccine and Dr. Steven Stack told a group of superintendents on Monday that won’t happen in 2020.

Stack told educators he’s hopeful there will be one in 2021, but says producing enough doses will be challenging.

“The entire next academic year will be affected by this,” Dr. Stack said. “And if we are lucky by the time we get to next fall we are in a better place”

Some educators also questioned why colleges and universities can restart and not schools.

“It’s like a city of 100,000 becoming one of 110,000 when the university or college students show up,” Stack said. “Which is a bit different than taking a defined community and putting all of them in classrooms who are underage minors.”

Dr. Stack says public health decisions are not perfect but made with the information given to them at the time.

Dr. Stack also told school leaders that it’s important to not make mistakes such as in places like Georgia were hundreds if not thousands of students have been put in quarantine.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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