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Wake County Public School System employee faces criticism after comments about masks for children under 4

RALEIGH, NC (WNCN) — A staff member with the Wake County public school system is facing criticism over a social media post that has gone viral.

A video clip from Tuesday’s Wake County School Board meeting shows Paul Koh, assistant superintendent of student support services, discussing how students ages 2 to 4 could wear masks.

In the video, Koh explained to council members a recommendation from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services that encourages people 2 and older to wear masks indoors.

“It’s like you’re a 2-year-old trying to help him train for 3 years, then 4 years when he enters kindergarten classes, and then from there you try to train him. help get into normalized situations by wearing masks potentially in a kindergarten class and so on, that’s what we’re trying to do and that’s with a development lens and not a do or otherwise do lens” , Koh told school board members.

The comments upset some parents and even the North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“We are seeing local school boards recommending masking for 2-4 year olds to prepare them for kindergarten masking. This is not the direction I want to see us go,” said North Carolina State Superintendent Catherine Truitt.

The Wake County Public School System provided this statement to CBS 17.

We look forward to the day when COVID protocols are removed from our schools. Until then, the district has an obligation to share recommendations from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services with our school board members.

Mr. Koh was asked how the district would enforce the state’s recommendation that children ages 2 to 4 wear face coverings. He clarified that it is not appropriate to expect these young students to fully comply. He explained that it’s more realistic to expect them to develop this skill over time, the same way other skills develop in children this young.

The District has no interest in requiring face coverings indefinitely. Such a suggestion is wrong. Our priority is to maintain in-person teaching. And right now, state health officials have made it clear that safely achieving that goal includes the use of face coverings..

The school board voted on Tuesday to continue covering the faces of children 5 and older.

Watch the full video excerpt from the board of directors here.

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