LAKEWOOD, Colo. (CBS) – A crowd of hundreds who are opposed to the new public health order surrounding mask wearing in Jefferson County schools gathered in a protest on Wednesday morning. The group included parents and students, and they were waving signs and marching outside Jefferson County Public Health’s headquarters in Lakewood.

(credit: CBS)

In an effort to have “a healthy, safe return to in-person learning,” JCPH announced COVID-19 guidelines on Friday that include masks being recommended for everyone in schools in the county when classes begin for the new school year, regardless of vaccination status.

(credit: CBS)

Jeffco Public Schools also announced on Friday that students who are ages 3-11 will be required to wear masks in their schools when classes start.

(credit: CBS)

Many of the people in Wednesday’s protest are from the group “Jeffco Unites: KIDS FIRST.” One of the signs a protester was holding says “Educate Don’t Suffocate.” Another said “No Forced Muzzles!”

“Knowing this is unacceptable at this point. We have multiple other districts surrounding us that are giving parents the option, who are honoring parents. And even use that language. We expect the same from Jeffco,” said one parent.

RELATED: Wednesday’s Protest Over Masks In Schools Forced JCPH To Shut Down

Jeffco Public Schools told CBS4 that they understand this is a tough situation for everyone involved but made the decision to keep as many students in in-person learning as possible this school year.

Classes start for most Jeffco students on Aug. 17.

Jesse Sarles