Advocate for Early Childhood Educators to be vaccinated in Phase 1B.

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We were extremely disappointed by the decision not to include early childhood in Phase 1B of the vaccine roll out and are petitioning to move staff of early childhood centers and programs to the same priority level as teachers of K-12 schools.

Overnight, while staring into the face of the pandemic, many educators of our youngest Ohio citizens became essential frontline workers, prioritizing the support, care and nurturing of children over their own health and personal needs. Others chose not to return out of concern for their own health and/or that of their loved ones, exacerbating the difficulty of hiring qualified teachers to nurture and educate our youngest children.

Many centers are operating at significantly decreased capacity or not open at all. Those who have reopened are challenged by the need to close classrooms for between 1 and 14 days at a time in response to the positive cases of their teachers, children or families. Each temporary closure is a disruption in childcare and is hugely problematic for families’ mental health and financial well-being, as well as for the economy as a whole.

The ultimate safety net for our families with young children and the community that supports them is the vaccination of early childhood staff against COVID-19 as soon as possible, ideally with employees of K-12 schools.

The undersigned value our early childhood educators, and request that you provide them a safe working environment by offering a higher priority in the vaccination schedule.