FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Families in Tarrant County demonstrated Monday against one of the longest classroom shutdowns in the state, and were encouraged by the county judge to get local school boards to push back.

Parents and students chanted in front of the Tarrant County Administration Building, holding signs advocating for their freedom to choose to send children back to school.

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The demonstrations come nearly a week after three doctors designated as the local health authorities in the county, directed public and non-religious private schools to only offer virtual instruction until at least September 28, with few exceptions.

Families demonstrate in front of Tarrant County Administration Building over freedom to choose how students go back to school. (CBS 11)

In a meeting with a select group of demonstrators Monday, County Judge Glen Whitley said that decision came out of three conference calls with school superintendents where an “unbelievable majority” of them agreed with the decision to delay in-person instruction.

An early draft of the order included a way for schools to be approved for an exception to the shutdown. Only two small districts though, and one charter school according to Judge Whitley, opposed removing that exception from the final order.

However, when parents suggested some private schools never had the chance to make their case for a safe re-opening of campuses, Whitley told them to put pressure on their school boards to speak up.

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“Go to your school boards,” he said. “Let’s hear a little pushback.”

Whitley also said he agreed with parents concerns that the longer students are out of school, the more their mental, emotional and physical health was at risk.

“I did not feel like the authority should be given solely to the public health authority,” he told parents. “And I basically in a message and conversation left with the governor, indicated that. Be careful what you ask for, because they’re focused very narrowly on COVID-19.”

Some parents left the meeting encouraged there was still a possibility to have some schools find a way to hold classes in-person when school starts next month

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“I think there is an opening for some schools that will jump on this,” said Amanda Wear, who was in the meeting with Whitley Monday.