GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) -- United as a community, more than 100 parents and students gathered to protest against Gwinnett County Schools decision to kick off the school year virtually due to COVID-19. 

“To heck with it, I believe in this," said Kelly Gasper. "I don’t care, this is bigger than me and more important to me to get these kids back in school,” added the mother of three.

Kelly added that her biggest concern is her children’s mental well-being.

"As a parent you hurt when your kids hurt. To see my daughter crying daily because of just the lack of being in-person, that human connection, it’s just not there, there’s feeling of almost a helplessness like how can I help my daughter here,” she continued.

Virtual learning, according to father Steve Gasper, is putting families at risk of losing their job.

“What are we supposed to do if our kids are now home digitally learning for seven hours on a computer?," asked Gasper. "One of us is going to have to make a decision to walk away from my job.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of July 17 the United States reported that children and adolescents under 18-years-old account for under 7 percent of COVID-19 cases and less than 0.1 percent of COVID-19-related deaths.

The best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children. Children also appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults. 

Parent Sheri Mitchell says she believes it’s more than just children’s education at risk but their safety.

“It’s not just about the education it’s about kids being able to eat, being able to get special needs services, being able to get an education, but really being able to thrive,” said Mitchell.

Kelly adds she just wants parents to have options.

“We at least want to have the option to make that decision on her own obviously with the safety of everybody in mind.”

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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