The Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County sent a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis urging the administration to consider early learning and school-age care providers as
a priority in the next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distributions. Coordinating with the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County, ELC of Pinellas is fighting to make sure child care providers who have been working to educate and care for infants and young children during much of the pandemic are not forgotten.
K-12 advocates throughout the state have also voiced concerns about the difficulty of ensuring the health and wellbeing of their students and staff as classroom attendance and community spread have increased. early learning and school-age care providers are facing the same dire concerns, due to the nature of care.
“Many of our early learning and school-age care professionals are at high risk of transmission of COVID-19,” said Lindsay Carson, CEO of Early Learning Coalition of Pinellas County. “Providers routinely care for children for 10 hours per day. Young children are not able to wear masks or other PPE and need assistance with diapering, feeding and nurturing. Basic care of young children prevents child care providers from being able to effectively use social distancing practices.”
In addition to the increased health risks to children and caregivers, positive cases of COVID-19 in child care settings have required frequent classroom closures due to appropriate risk mitigation measures and safety protocols. Closures make it difficult for families who depend on our services to stay in the workforce.