According to the survey, conducted by Amárach Research among 2,500 adults on Monday (8 February) and commissioned by early education and childcare representative group Seas Suas, 64% believe that childcare professionals should be classified as key workers because they are essential frontline workers in roles where social distancing is not an option in caring for children.
82% of all Irish adults believe childcare professionals should be classified as ‘key workers’ in the roll out plan. The early education and childcare sector is currently open for children of essential and frontline workers and vulnerable children.
Childcare professionals are currently eleventh in the Government’s fifteen-phase rollout plan. Reclassifying childcare professionals as key workers would place them in the sixth phase of the rollout.
When asked why they believe childcare professionals should be prioritised for vaccination and classified as key workers, the survey found:
- 57% believe that vaccinating childcare professionals will ensure early learning and childcare can continue to be provided for the children of essential and frontline workers and vulnerable children;
- 44% said it would ensure childcare settings can remain open to provide education, care, structure and routine for children at this time;
- Over one in three (33%) were concerned about productivity at work saying that having childcare settings open would mean parents can return to full productivity at work so sector professionals should be vaccinated;
- 18% believe it will protect children from any risk of infection;
- 38% believe it will ensure that education and care can continue to be provided without interruption, as there will be fewer staff absences associated with Covid-19 sickness and self-isolation;
- 15% said it would speed up the country’s economic and social recovery.
The research results follow a call from Seas Suas – the representative organisation for independent early education and childcare providers – last week for early years professionals to be classified as “key workers” in the Government’s vaccine rollout programme in an open letter to the Taoiseach.
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