WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the Early Care and Education Consortium (ECEC) issued a joint letter confirming that the nation's largest child care providers will work towards ensuring all child care center teachers and staff have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available. They also are calling on state and local regulatory bodies to classify teachers as frontline workers so that they are prioritized to receive the vaccine.
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on the nation, our communities and specifically the child care sector. Those that do remain open are operating with lower capacity and heightened health and safe protocols, making it more challenging than ever for working families to find childcare.
The child care sector has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic from the very beginning. Collectively we've operated with advanced health and safety protocols that have set the standard for other industries. A recent study by Yale University confirmed that our practices are working and that licensed, regulated child care centers are among the safest places for children today. We've been there for families when they've needed us the most.
Now it's our responsibility to once again come together to support the nation's working families and ensure the health and safety of our dedicated staff. News of the COVID-19 vaccine comes at a critical time, as families struggle to balance their children's care with work and concerns over their health and safety. They are also looking for assurance that their children are being cared for by teachers and staff who are healthy.
It's because of this that we collectively commit to ensuring that all of our teachers and staff have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Together, we continue to urge state and local regulatory bodies to classify child care teachers and staff as frontline workers so that they can receive the vaccine on a priority basis.
Quality child care is the foundation of our children's futures and the key to unlocking this nation's economic recovery. To ensure that America's families can get back to work, they need care that provides safe and healthy environments for children to learn and grow. The surest path to this result is to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all child care teachers and staff as soon as possible.
"As an industry, we have a responsibility to the nation's families to do all we can to keep our communities healthy. One way we can do that is to ensure that all of our teachers and staff have access to the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it's available," said Tom Wyatt, CEO of KinderCare. "That's why KinderCare is actively working with health care providers and state health departments to ensure frontline employees like early childhood educators have early access to the vaccine. We're also ensuring the vaccine is free of cost for all KinderCare teachers and will provide them with paid time off to receive the vaccination."
"As child care providers, health and safety come first for us – now, and always. We recognize that stopping the pandemic and protecting our school communities requires a combination of tools. That's why Learning Care Group is strongly encouraging vaccination and following the guidance of the health authorities as we continue to implement our rigorous health and safety protocols," said Mark Bierley, CEO, Learning Care Group. "We're working to provide convenient and immediate access for all of our school employees at no cost, and compensating them for the time to get vaccinated."
"Safety and security for all childcare professionals is important for their own well-being and for the well-being of the children within their care. We believe all childcare centers should support the vaccination of their entire staff, and government officials should include these professionals in the earliest groups to have access to the vaccine. Childcare professionals have cared or continue to care for frontline workers' children throughout the pandemic and, with early access to the vaccine, will be able to safely continue this important role within our communities. We are encouraging all of our staff by including paid time off and vaccination bonuses for those who protect themselves, their families and the families who attend our schools." – Jeffrey Altschuler, CEO, Old School Academies
"Early educators have been some of the most important superheroes in the fight against COVID. Our Bright Horizons teachers are on the front lines supporting health care workers, scientists and first responders so they can do their work to keep us all safe and healthy. Protecting child care teachers and staff by giving them priority access to the COVID vaccine not only recognizes their critical role in keeping our communities safe, but also helps ensure a healthy environment for children," said Stephen Kramer, CEO of Bright Horizons.
- Tom Wyatt, CEO, KinderCare Education
- Jo Kirchner, CEO, Primrose Schools
- Mark Bierley, CEO Learning Care Group, Inc.
- Chad Dunkley, CEO, New Horizon Academy
- Richard Weissman, CEO, The Learning Experience
- Jeffrey Altschuler, CEO, Old School Academies
- Kristen Waterfield, CEO, The Malvern School
- David Goldberg, President and CEO, Cadence Education
- Stephen Kramer, CEO, Bright Horizons
- Henry Wilde, Founder & CEO, Acelero Learning Company
- Rhonda Paver, Founder, Owner and Executive Director, Stepping Stone School
- Bruce Karpas, Chairman & CEO, Crème de la Crème
- Shawn Weidmann, CEO, Spring Education Group
- David Evans, CEO, Childcare Network
The Early Care and Education Consortium (ECEC) is a non-profit alliance of the leading multi-state/multi-site child care providers, key state child care associations, and premier educational service providers, representing over 6,500 programs in 48 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and select international locations. ECEC's members serve as the unified collective voice for providers of high-quality programs and services that support families and children from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. ECEC advocates for strong federal and state policies that bring quality to scale.
SOURCE Early Care and Education Consortium (ECEC)