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Parents, students call on Harford County Public Schools to reopen schools

Posted at 10:46 PM, Jan 11, 2021

HARFORD COUNTY, Md. — Monday night parents and students flooded the sidewalk of the Harford County Public Schools headquarters to call to reopen schools.

Children were chalking out how virtual learning is making them feel.

Southampton Middle Schooler Tyler Kirby is really missing sports and hands-on learning.

“March will be a year and I just, I want to be able to meet my teachers, meet my classmates," Kirby said.

These parents and students say virtual learning is having a lot of negative effects on students.

Monday night they demonstrated their frustration by rallying around the school district headquarters ahead of a virtual school Board meeting.

Inside, the board heard testimony, some coming from parents outside.

“Watching their mental health decline throughout this whole pandemic it’s terrifying," said Melissa Hahn, a Harford County Schools Parent. "It’s very scary to see your child and not be able to do anything for them. That’s why I’m here.”

Kayla Mariskanish was one of the parents who organized the rally that included electronic candles with the names of students who signed an online petition to reopen schools.

“My son is in kindergarten and he’s the one suffering the most because I work a full-time job and so does my husband. We can’t be there to be on the computer with him doing the virtual class, so he only gets asynchronous learning. Thats what we can do with him in the evening after dinner."

One issue many parents have is that just a few miles away across the Pennsylvania border and in other Maryland Counties parents have options.

Jen Conklin has children in Carrol and Montgomery County who are doing in person on a hybrid model already," Conklin. “I am in no way going to say everybody should return full time because I know a lot of people aren’t comfortable with that. I just want a choice to be able to have my kid attend in person. I live in Norrisville so we have a lot of internet issues. He’s in and out of class all the time so his meetings are dropping. For us virtual is just not working.”

The Harford School Superintendent is planning on speaking at the Harford County Council meeting Tuesday night.