CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - When it comes to the coronavirus and vaccinations, local daycare workers are lobbying Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, saying they should be on the list.
The early childhood educators want to be considered a priority, allowing them to be vaccinated in February like teachers K-12.
Katie Theobold is an Early Childhood Education Director at Temple Emanu El in Orange Village.
“We don’t want to skip the line; we want to be treated like all educators that take care of children,” Theobold said.
At one point, early childhood educators were considered some of the heroes or essential workers during this COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s because the child care providers worked to ensure parents could work and take care of their families during this global health crisis.
“With the rollout that Governor DeWine issued, we were all under the impression that all educators would be listed in that category. And unfortunately, the criteria is only for K thru 12 teachers to actually get the vaccine starting in February,” Theobold said.
Theobold tells 19 News that so far, daycare workers are not on the list, and have no indication when they will be vaccinated.
“We are working with frontline families, we are working with doctors, we are working with nurses. We’re also working with teachers in a K through 12 programs. So until we are able to be vaccinated, anytime that we have to close our classrooms or buildings for quarantine that impacts the greater community,” Theobold said.
Daycares have had some issues with the virus, according to Theobold, but this isn’t just about the staff, but families as well.
“If we would have to close one of our classrooms down that would essentially mean, the child, that family would have to remain home or seven to twelve days,” Theobold tells 19 News.
There is now an online petition on Change.org, where families and others are supporting daycare workers with 9,000 signatures so far.
Theobold says they’ve taken a number of steps to safeguard daycares. They’ve also sent a letter to Governor Mike DeWine reminding him that the only way to ensure a program is safe is to have the staff vaccinated.