Aspen Leaf Preschool is a multi-location school in San Diego. Since the beginning of the pandemic, they have been open about not enforcing masking for students, but in January all three locations were "raided" by the California Department of Social Services.
According to Voice of San Diego, regulators from the DSS isolated children as young as 1 to interview them about the school's masking policies. Parents are understandably upset by the state's action.
Regulators separated the children and toddlers from familiar adults at each of the centers to ask questions about the preschools' masking policies.
What's strange about that decision, parents and teachers say, is that Aspen Leaf officials had already been open with parents and regulators about their decision to not mask children.
Regulators isolated and interviewed children aged one to four, a step many parents say was inappropriate and unnecessary.
One parent, Connie Wu, said that her daughter – WHO WAS ONE-YEAR-OLD – was isolated from the other students and teachers to be interviewed by an investigator from the state licensing agency.
She said of her daughter,
"She's not developmentally able to tell me. She doesn't have the vocabulary to be able to talk about being interviewed by a stranger."
I'm sure it was a really fruitful interview, with a child who has a vocabulary of a total of 50 words, and two of those words being "stranger danger!"
Although the agency does have the authority to interview students in isolation, many parents believe those measures should only be taken in extreme cases, such as suspicion of abuse.
As usual, it was a snitching Karen who started the whole mess:
Then in January, as Omicron surged, a parent complained to the licensing authority. An investigator called Howard Wu and asked him to enforce the mandate. He laid out his argument that regulators didn't have the authority to enforce the mandate.
A few days later, investigators showed up at all three of the facilities, saw children not wearing masks and conducted interviews.
Stephanie and Richard Rosado, whose four-year-old son was interviewed, said this in a complaint:
This gross abuse of power is shameful and unacceptable for many reasons. The people who ordered this to be done and those who participated should be held responsible.
Howard Wu is a part-owner of Aspen Leaf (and a lawyer) and says that he doesn't believe the childcare licensing agency has the authority to enforce the mask mandate that was issued by the California Department of Public Health (and which will expire at the end of this week):
In order to enforce the regulation, the agency must issue a regulation. But so far, the child care licensing department has not issued regulations on masks.
After 19 months of no-masks without an incident, the school has reversed its no-mask policy for the time being to avoid being shut down. They plan to revert back to no-masks when the state mandate expires on March 11th, Thankfully that's just 4 days away.
Keep it classy, totalitarian Cali!
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