Cynthia Smith McCollum, owner of two private child care centers in Austin, Texas, is convinced that requiring vaccinations for her staff was the right move, even if it meant losing six of them.
Some of those who departed as a result of the mandate had previously worked for decades at Open Door Preschools, which serve children with developmental problems alongside generally developing classmates.
Daycare Facilities Are Mandating COVID Vaccine: Latest News
One long-term employee informed her he wouldn’t be vaccinated if a pistol was held to his head.
Since that personnel left in the late summer, the centers have only been able to replace two of the openings, both with returning former employees.
McCollum claimed she hasn’t been able to locate a single new worker for the available positions despite offering $11 to $18 an hour, which she claims is the normal child care salary in her region.
Vaccinating child care workers makes scientific sense, according to scientists.
Preschool instructors and baby and toddler caretakers interact closely with the individuals who are most likely to go without vaccinations the longest: young children who aren’t anticipated to be eligible for COVID-19 injections until next year. Parents, on the other hand, have already noticed a shortage of child care providers — the workforce is down approximately 10% from pre-pandemic levels. Vaccination regulations may make it more difficult for daycare centers to hire otherwise qualified workers.
According to a poll performed between May 26 and June 23 as part of a Yale-led study, about 78 percent of the child care workers were vaccinated by late spring or early summer, a greater proportion than the general public. Black child care providers, those with the lowest family incomes, and home-based providers were immunized at lower rates than the overall child care workforce. Concerns about the vaccine’s safety and the pace with which it is being developed were identified as among the top reasons for not vaccination, rather than a lack of availability.
While many people see vaccines as providing protection for child care workers who put themselves at risk during a pandemic, it’s also true that little time or money has been spent in the past on keeping an eye out for this workforce, according to Walter Gilliam, a Yale child psychiatry professor who is also an author of the report.
Low pay is the primary cause of the country’s already weak child care system collapsing.
According to a poll conducted by The National Association for the Education of Young Children, a professional group for child care providers, four out of every five child care organizations were understaffed this summer.
A third of the providers polled indicated they were thinking about quitting their employment or closing their child care center, and 81 percent cited inadequate income as a major factor for leaving the industry. According to a September study by the United States Treasury Department, child care employees receive salaries in the second percentile of all jobs.