Un-Vaccinated Teacher at preschool

My son is going to be going to pre-school for the first time this year.

The admin of the school let me know that one of their teachers (not my son's teacher) is not vaccinated, when I asked. 

It's a really lovely, well recommended school. They do require mask and overall seem to have an excellent covid-19 prevention policy. 

How would you feel as a parent? 

What is my responsibility to other parents who might not have this information and naively assume, like I did, that all the teachers are vaccinated? 

I'm really torn up about this and thinking about switching schools even though I really really don't want to and not even sure I can at this late date!

Parent Replies

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I wouldn't send my child there.

wow. that is really tough. it's easy to say I wouldn't want my kid there (which I wouldn't) but it can be difficult to move your child and find a new school. it might be easier to see if you can get the teacher (and if there are any others) to get their vaccines. I'd probably ask the school to require it or say you want to pull your kid.

I wouldn’t send my child there either :( sorry you’re dealing with this situation. 

I'm going to respond the same way I responded to the other poster with a similar concern. I would first ask if the director is willing to ask the teacher what is making them hesitant to get the vaccine and provide resources from reputable sites like the CDC. Then maybe appeal to their conscience. If one of the kids got COVID and died or had serious illness, I imagine they'd feel awful. They may be part of a community that may have had historical and understandable distrust of medical providers too so maybe coming from mother to caretaker, the appeal will be stronger. Or you can appeal to the financial side of it. If they get ill or the school shuts down for an outbreak, treatment, time off, etc may have a huge impact for them. It makes me wonder if they get their flu shot too. Unfortunately, this would be a deal breaker for me though...

Yikes, did they say if the teacher would be getting vaccinated? If not, then it doesn’t sound like they have a good prevention policy like you say. An excellent prevention policy would be ensuring that all staff are vaccinated. I would nope the heck outta there.

I would find a new preschool. And I would tell the school the reason when you withdraw. It is not ok for people to be unvaccinated by choice (i.e. without a valid medical reason they cannot be vaccinated) and working with children who cannot be vaccinated yet.

I have a three-year-old who has been in preschool for a year (so, under COVID the entire time). All the staff and the students three and older have been masked the entire year. (The two-year-olds are unmasked until they turn three.) There have been five or six colds that have swept the classroom in the last year, and all the students caught them, masked or not. Granted, those were typical non-COVID coronaviruses, so may be spread more easily from surfaces than COVID, but I am unconvinced that even the strictest adherence to mask policies can keep toddlers from spreading viruses to each other.

I would definitely inform all the other parents (I would want to be informed, as a parent!), and perhaps you could band together and convince the preschool administrator that s/he should require that all teachers be vaccinated unless they have a true religious or medical exemption (a very small percentage of the population). If that doesn't happen, I would absolutely, and unfortunately, leave the school. 

Personally, I would not send my child there. Any teacher who does not believe in science, or the scientific method, or a school that has hired such a person, would not be acceptable to me. The same scientific principles used in the creation of cell phones, cars, computers, etc., which we use every day of our lives were used to develop the vaccines. The virtual eradication of Polio is due to a vaccine. Millions and millions of people have taken this vaccine; it is tested more thoroughly than any before in history. Unless this teacher is Amish, and doesn't use any technology whatsoever, for hypocritical reasons alone he or she is not really equipped to be a teacher.

Would this teacher be interacting with your child? If this is a larger school and there is only 1 teacher unvaccinated out of the entire staff I probably wouldn't be too alarmed. I am guessing the employer cannot tell you why they are not vaccinated, due to HIPPA laws, but is it possible they have a legitimate reason not to get it?  If their Covid prevention policies have been working and they are following through with them it should be safe to send your child. I would contact a family that has been there during the school year last year to find out how they handled everything when there was no vaccinations available and base my decisions on further information.  

This would make me uncomfortable as a parent but since the teacher is not your child's teacher I would probably stay as long as the school is strict about doing pods. In my girls daycare, none of the classes mix, there is no overlap of teachers from one class to another. Once class at a time gets to play outside and the play yards are separate. The other thing to consider, are siblings. I.e. does that teacher have interaction with a sibling from a kid in your kids class?

That being said, in my opinion a childcare provider that refuses vaccines (unless they medically can't) is essentially saying they don't care about the health and safety of the children in their care. I would just stress with the director how important it is that the teacher is never around your child. 

Hard pass. Not worth the risk.

Based on your description, I would not consider pulling my child from a lovely school over this. I also would not feel the need to inform other parents.

Also, the moderators may have informed you directly or you may have seen it in the latest newsletter, but they appear to have rejected many responses related to your question because they were viewed as offering medical advice which violates BPN policy. I mention it because if this were my question I would want to know that many responses had been filtered out by the moderators. So what you see may not be a very representative sample of the responses that were received.