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“Essential one day and forgotten the next”: Perceptions of Ohio’s early childhood workforce on their exclusion from the educator phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution


This study explores Ohio Early Childhood and Care (ECEC) workers’ perspectives about different prioritization for COVID-19 vaccine distribution between Ohio educators employed in ECEC and prek-12 settings. Days after Ohio's shutdown, ECEC programs began reopening for children of essential workers, and by June 2020 all ECEC programs could reopen with enhanced mitigation strategies, while the prek-12 workforce remained remote as they cautiously returned in-person ranging from 2 to 9 months later. Ohio was 1 of 4 states that, despite contrary Center for Disease Control guidance, excluded ECEC workers from the phase of vaccine distribution in which prek-12 workers were eligible. Data on ECEC employee perceptions of this difference were collected via anonymous online questionnaire from 194 ECEC workers. Qualitative analysis revealed six themes: 1. Participants compared themselves to prek-12, 2. believe they are valuable, 3. disagreed with the decision, 4. felt undervalued compared to prek-12, 5. felt exploited, and 6. suffered mental health effects. ECEC workers’ perspectives are valuable and should be included in decisions impacting them. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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