KNOX CO. Tenn, (WATE) — Monday, February 22 was the first day most counties expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to adults age 65 and older as well as teachers.
This includes those who work at child care facilities and preschools.
Parents of younger kids and local child care centers are sharing what this means for them and the children they take care of.
Karrie Smith is a mom of three: “Ethan he’s 15, Eli is 7, and then Ian is 2.”
Her two older kids are in private school and are dealing with the ever-changing schedule of being in the physical classroom one day and a virtual classroom the next.
“If a teacher’s out then it changes the whole dynamic for the days,” said Smith.
“My two-year-old, I stay home with him. We do go to TSD, Tennessee School of the Deaf, for classes for him,” she added.
Soon, Smith will have to decide if Ian will be learning in the classroom.
“We will be eligible to go to child care in one year when he’s three-years-old,” Smith said.
The owner of Crestview Childcare, Melissa Wright, said due to the pandemic, she’s been struggling to provide a steady income for her family.
“It’s caused me to have to turn people down and say, you know I can’t be accessible to you because I don’t know if I’m going to be needing to be one on one with my kids as far as virtual school.”
Wright runs an in-home daycare and is use to taking care of four children, but because of the pandemic, she can only take care of two.
Now that she’s eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine, Write said she could better provide services without worrying about being exposed: “I think I would feel more comfortable as a home business provider if I got the vaccine because I don’t want to expose my loved ones unnecessarily.”
It’s an extra measure of safety against Covid-19 that would make Karrie Smith feel better about sending her son to child care.
“I’m hoping that as more people are vaccinated there will be fewer and fewer cases,” Smith explained. “I feel like anything we can do to get back to the closer to a normal life is a good thing.”
Not every county in the state has moved on to the next phase of the vaccination plan.
County phases depend on vaccine availability.