Childcare Is Not Safe to Open if Public School Is Not Safe to Open

Dear Governor Scott,

Thank you for your leadership in mid-March to close schools and ensure early education programs across the state did not go bankrupt. You had the foresight, unlike most governors in our country, to understand that without state subsidy and stabilization money, our schools would close and never be able to reopen. Your actions helped countless teachers, students and families stay safe, stay home and stay healthy.

We write to you today to ask you to continue making policy that values human life over the State’s budget and financial fears. Many early childhood centers are not yet in a safe position to open our doors to children and families on June 1st and by ending stabilization funding, this choice is actually not a choice at all. Schools and school programming for children over five years old are closed with no clear reopen date because it is not yet clear when it will be safe. Following that same logic, based on science and public health guidance, it is also not safe for children under five years old to return to school. Public school teachers and early childhood teachers alike are both childcare providers and educators.

We acknowledge that there are economic realities that make it seem like June 1st would be a good time to open. We value economic stability and security for Vermonters. We are also advocates for our students and are not willing to put children on the frontline of a virus that has affected so many when the data does not tell us that they will be safe. The parents of our students trust us to keep their children safe. Help us do the right thing.

Young children cannot survive without physical touch and yet physical touch is a huge risk factor in contracting or spreading a disease that has killed over 81,000 people in 10 weeks. Children are vectors who spread disease to each other and the adults who take care of them. They also are beginning to die.

Infants, toddlers and preschoolers are even less capable of social distancing and following public safety guidelines than their elementary and middle school aged counterparts. Therefore, it does not make sense for them to return first. The consequences of opening too soon could be devastating and the victims would be some of our community’s most vulnerable members--the ones you promised to protect when you took office.

We ask you to help us do this by extending the date for childcare to reopen to coincide with public school timelines and to continue stabilization funding to early education programs until then. When it is safe for all students to return to school, we will be there. Continue being a leader who prioritizes health over profit. Our lives depend on it.

We look forward to your response.

Sincerely and with hope,

Teachers at Early Childcare Programs:

Natalie Stroud, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Molly Holden, Preschool teacher, Williston

Emma Redden, Preschool teacher, Burlington

Katherine Wohlers, Early Educator, Burlington

Heidi Agan, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Jo Altman, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Lauren Bergeron, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Caley Gervais, Infant Teacher, Burlington

Samantha Spaulding, Educator, Burlington

Molly Doherty, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Katlyn Bullis, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Racheal Ouellette, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Morgan LaChance, Preschool Teacher, Burlington

Lauren Walker, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Morgan Devarney, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Heide Lavoie, Early Educator, Burlington

Sarah Brent Soehner, Preschool Teacher, Burlington

Jessica Buchelly, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Izzy Rose, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Alison Mott, Early Childhood Educator and Music Teacher

Hannah Martin, Early Childhood Educator, Hinesburg

Mary Edwards, Preschool Teacher, Williston

Katie Charland, Infant Teacher, Essex

Manuel Iglesias Fernández, Early Childhood Educator, Duxbury

Tamara Henson, Preschool Teacher, South Burlington

Leah Martin, Toddler Teacher, Hinesburg

Barb Roscoe, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Caitlin Durkin, Toddler Teacher, Burlington

Siobhan Liberman, Early Childhood Educator, South Burlington

Meaghan Bushey, Early Childhood Teacher, Jerhico

Tessa Harrington, Early Childhood Educator, Jerhico

Fabio Nascimento, Lead Preschool Teacher, South Burlington

Andrea Hulsey, Pre-K teacher, Burlington

Alix Lindenbaum, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Katherine Medley, Early Childhood Special Educator, Burlington

Kate Brock, Early Educator, Milton

Sandra Jones, Early Childhood Provider, Ascension Childcare Inc. Shelburne

Dominique Viteretto, Early Childhood Educator, Davis Studio Preschool

Veronica McMorrow, Pre-K Teacher, Ascension Childcare, Inc, Shelburne

Haley Behn, Pre-K Teacher, Ascension Childcare Inc, Shelburne

Moira Jamieson, Infant Teacher, Ascension Childcare, Inc, Shelburne

Shelley Bartsch, Floater Teacher, Ascension Childcare, Inc., Shelburne

Elisa Wiseman, Infant Teacher, Ascension Childcare, Inc, Shelburne

Mallory Feazelle, Toddler Teacher, Ascension Childcare, Inc, Shelburne

Ambre Dailey, Lead Teacher, Part 2: The Early Years - Richmond Elementary

Erinn Simon, Childcare Food Program Coordinator, Burlington

Suzanne Quilliam, Toddler Teacher, Ascension Childcare, Inc, Shelburne

Liz Casey, Early Childhood Special Educator, Colchester

Lauren Martin, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Julia Atkins, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Stacy Crosby, Early Educator, Burlington

Danielle Pouliot, Early Childhood Educator, Fairfax, Vetmont

MacKenzie Murdoch, Substitute Teacher, Burlington

Alanna Stern, Lead Toddler Teacher, Montpelier Children’s House, Northfield

Christine Birong-Smith, Preschool Teacher, Charlotte

Sarah Perrotte, Early Childhood Educator

Samantha Forand, Early Childhood Educator

Amanda Cousineau, Early Childhood Educator

Holli Boise, Early Childhood Educator

Devin Russell, Former Preschool Teacher, South Hero, VT

Christina Rubright, College Street Children’s Center, Middlebury

Sandra DeVoid, M.Ed, Early childhood educator

Rini Lovshin-Smith, preschool teacher, Addison County  

Katherine Legacy, Infant teacher, Montpelier Children’s House, Montpelier

Cecelia Puleio, mentor teacher, Turtle Island Children’s Center, Montpelier

Sabrina Lamell, Toddler Teacher, Montpelier Children’s House, Montpelier

Valerie Ouimet, Lead Infant Teacher & Infant-Toddler Coordinator; Montpelier Children's House, Montpelier

Sofia Silverglass, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington

Jamie Murphy, Preschool Teacher, Charlotte

Jada Berg, Sweet Clover Nursery, Montpelier

Madelief Becherer, Sweet Clover Nursery, Montpelier

Jeffrey Rowekamp, Preschool teacher, Middlebury

Andrea Butterfield, Toddler Teacher, Bristol Family Center, Bristol

Alysia Coyle, Infant Teacher, Bristol Family Center, Bristol

Abigail Gendreau, Lead Preschool Teacher, Bristol Family Center, Bristol

Shawna Ploof, Lead Teacher, Bristol Family Center, Bristol

Amy Conant, Early Educator, Middlebury

Joslyn Haineswood, Early Educator, Marlboro

Wendy Krygier, Early Educator, Middlebury

Natalie Bassett, Toddler Teacher , Bristol Family Center, Bristol

Emma Laramie, Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Tina Andrews, Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Elizabeth Cherry, Early Childhood Educator, Burlington, VT

Jennifer Ricker, Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Heather Newell, Early Childhood Education Teacher, Brattleboro

Tina Boljevac, Parent and Early Childhood Educator, Burlington and Shelburne

Anne Koplinka-Loehr, Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Angela Jardine, Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Lydia Gubitosi, Curriculum Supervisor/Lead Preschool Teacher, Shelburne/Montpelier

Alena Ross Becker, Early Childhood Educator, Montpelier

Tyler Morris, early educator and home visitor, Brattleboro

Luke Euphrat, early educator, Mulberry Bush Independent School

Laura Gypson, early educator, Mulberry Bush Independent School, Brattleboro

Alexis Drake Preschool Assistant Teacher, Brattleboro

Remington Kurkul, Early Childhood Educator, Westminster

Michele Wood, Mulberry Bush, Brattleboro

Jen Rice, Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Lisa Harris, Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Auli Lyons, Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Kim Fletcher, Early Childhood Educator, Mulberry Bush, Brattleboro

Jennifer Simpson, Early Childhood Educator, Westminster

Erica Smith, Teacher, Mulberry Bush School

Anna Heaney, Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Laurie Markoski, EES, Brattleboro

Samantha Palmer, Preschool Teacher, Brattleboro

Karon Given , Early Childhood Educator, Brattleboro

Jennifer Leopold, Early Childhood Educator, Ascension Childcare, Inc. Shelburne

Alexandra Owen, Preschool Teacher, Montpelier

Morgan St. John, Preschool Teacher, Montpelier

Casey Hagedorn, Early Childhood Educator , Brattleboro

Holly Waryas, Early Childhood Educator, Westminster

Brynne Martin, Early Childhood Educator, South Burlington

Jill Wiliams, Early Educator, Brattleboro

Chelsey Johns, Preschool Teacher, Brattleboro

Amy Powers-Whaley, Early Childhood Educator, Putney

Emily Bridges, Preschool Teacher, Addison County

Theresa Conway, Teacher Infant/Toddler Center Brattleboro

Kristina Kowalik, Head Start Teacher, Brattleboro

Elo-Mai Noormets, Early Head Start Teacher, Brattleboro

Rachel Popoli, Preschool Teacher, Burlington

Gwynedd Powers, Toddler Teacher, Brattleboro

Cheryl Tripaldi, Toddler Teacher, Brattleboro

Penny Bourgeois, Floater, Ascencion Childcare, Inc, Shelburne

Lori Tustin, Head Start Teacher, Westminster

Melissa Jennison, Early Educator, Middlebury

Preschool or Childcare Center Directors and Managers:

Erika Geremia, Preschool Director, Burlington

Elsa Levy, Preschool Director/ Teacher, Davis Studio Preschool

Ellen Leonard, AllTogetherNow! Preschool, East Montpelier

Andrea Sambrook, Director/Owner, Annette’s Preschool and the Clubhouse, Hinesburg

Katie Goossen, Early Childhood Educator and Director, Morrill, ME

Rosamaria Fay , President/Co owner, Milton’s Elite, Milton

Julie Buechler, Parent and Director, Ascension Childcare, Inc, Shelburne

Christina Paulin, Preschool Director, Richmond

Riley Maskell, Program Director/Parent, Frog & Toad Child Care & Learning Center LLC, Essex

Annette Urbschat, Preschool Co-Director, the Schoolhouse Learning Center

Sarah Empie, Program Director, Part 2: The Early Years - Smilie Memorial School

Michelle Richling, Program Director, Kids & Fitness, Williston

Rebecca Sharkey, Program Director, Kids & Fitness, Essex

Heather Hamilton, Program Director, Kids & Fitness, South Burlington

Mary Jo Sleeper, Manager, Kids & Fitness, Essex, Williston, South Burlington

Kerry Malloy, Director/Lead Preschool Teacher, Lincoln

Amethyst Peaslee, Director, College St. Children’s Center, Middlebury

Suzanne Young. Director, Wren’s Nest Forest Preschool, New Haven

Kathryn Torres, New Haven

Samara Mays, Director, Montpelier Children’s House, Montpelier

Amanda Olney, Director, Hunger Mountain Children’s Center, Waterbury

Su White, Teaching Director, Quarry Hill School, Middlebury

Vicky Senni, Co-Director at Turtle Island Children’s Center, Montpelier

Amie Whitcomb, Program Director, Bristol Family Center

Sarah Rougier, Executive Director, Bristol Family Center

Justin Morrison, Preschool Teacher, Ascension Childcare Inc., Shelburne

Lindsey Sterrett, MS QMHA, Executive Co-Director, Montpelier

Katie McMurray, Director of Aurora Preschool, Middlebury

Heather Martin, Owner of Baby Steps Childcare, Proctor

Mary Zentara, Director and Teacher, Montpelier,

Tori Kelliher, Manager, Mulberry Bush Independent School, Brattleboro

Tess Lindsay, Director and Lead Teacher, Wildflowers Playschool, Putney

Allie McFalls, Director, The Family Garden, Brattleboro

Dawn Irwin, Director/Owner, Growing With Wonder, Essex

Martha Missale, MissMarthas Creative ELP, Brattleboro

Kim Freeman, Brattleboro

Melissa Carlstrom, Co-Director of Horizon Early Learning, Brattleboro

Jennifer Bliss, registered home childcare, Barre VT

Ashley Bessette, Director of Evergreen Preschool, Vergennes

Ilana Snyder, Strengthening Families Coordinator, Mary Johnson Children’s Center, Middlebury

Jill Sparks, Early Childhood Educator, Westminster

Chelsey Johns, Preschool Teacher, Brattleboro

Jacquelyn Reno, Preschool Teaching Director, The Janet S. Munt Family Room

Maureen Young, M.Ed. Westminster, VT

Jennifer Hewitt, Preschool Director, Nadeau’s Playschool, Williston VT

Melinda Pearson, Director of EEC at VT Achievement Center, Rutland VT

Kristen Dunne, Director, Mary Johnson Children's Center, Middlebury

Teachers, School Staff and Educators in Solidarity:

Myle Truong, Teacher, Burlington

Alyssa Chen, Teacher, Burlington

Lauren Akin, Environmental Educator, Burlington

Katelyn Floyd, Public School Teacher, South Burlington

Rebecca Eunmi Haslam, Assistant Professor, Saint Michael’s College

Christie Nold, Public School Teacher, South Burlington

Emily Gilmore, Public School Teacher, South Burlington

Rhiannon Kim, Public School Educator, South Burlington School District

Peter Langella, School Librarian, Champlain Valley School District

Susie Merrick, Public School Staff Member, South Burlington

Abbie Bowker, Visual Arts Educator, Champlain Valley School District

Jacob Holzberg-Pill, VT Public School Teacher and Parent

Tevye Kelman, teacher, Randolph Union High School

Noa Urbaitel, Camp Coordinator and After School Teacher, Charlotte, Vermont

Kristen Martin, Montessori School of Central Vermont, Barre

Life LeGeros, Professional Development Coordinator at the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education, South Duxbury

Jeanie Phillips, Professional Development Coordinator at the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education, Londonderry

Tom Redden, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus, Newfane

John Doherty, Retired Special Educator, Underhill

Lauren MacKillop, University of Vermont, Early Childhood Education Program

Chloe Wolfman, Public School Teacher, Brattleboro

Sara Thomas, family support staff, Brattleboro

Joseph Beck, Para Professional, Brattleboro Area Middle School

Francisco Mugnani, Admin/IT Assistant, Early Education Services, Brattleboro

Trish Coyne, Planning Room Supervisor, Brattleboro Area Middle School

Patrick Johnson, Transition Room Para, Brattleboro Area Middle School

Allie Futty, Teacher of the Visually Impaired, Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Katrina Irish, Para Educator, Brattleboro Area Middle School

Melanie Keiser, Administrative Assistant, former Preschool Educator, Newfane

Mary Diane Baker, ParaEducator, Brattleboro Union High School

Henry Zacchini, Teacher, Brattleboro Union HIgh School

Ellen Luna, Education Coordinator, Brattleboro

Kate Cowles, University of Vermont, Early Childhood Education Program

Heather Day, Special Educator, Brattleboro

Dan Brown, BUHS educator, Brattleboro

Sarah Wood, Paraprofessional and foster parent

Emily McLoughlin, para educator, Brattleboro

Kira Sawyer-Hartigan- Nutrition Program and Wellness Consultant at Windham Southeast Supervisory Union

Katrina L. Morgan, Eligibility Specialist, Early Education Services, Brattleboro

Cindy Russell, Head Start Nurse, Brattleboro

Rita Corey, Music Teacher, Dummerston and Academy

Parents and Caregivers in Solidarity:

Amanda Garces, Parent of a preschooler, Montpelier

Sephirah Feinberg, Parent of a toddler & Social Worker, Burlington

Jessica Giles, Parent of Toddler, Winooski

Grace Oedel, Parent, Burlington

Sandy Echt, caregiver to grandchildren, Burlington

Albert Echt, caregiver to grandchildren, Burlington

Launa Slater, Parent, Burlington

Jacques Burke, Parent, Milton

Peggy Price, M.Ed., F/OGA, parent and literacy consultant

Sarah Coleman, Parent, Burlington

Kim Friedman, Parent, South Newfane

Infinite Culcleasure, Parent of a Toddler & Community Organizer

Kit Harrington, Parent & Early Childhood Educator, Winooski

Per Satterberg, Parent, Winooski

Caryn Feinberg, Grandparent of Toddler, Mental Health Counselor, Shelburne

Ellen Pratt, parent, Putney

Carina McCauley, Parent, Richmond

Alexis Drake, Parent, Dummerston

Timothy Guarente, Parent, Brattleboro

Kathleen Whallon, Grandparent, Brattleboro

Amy Johnston, Parent, Brattleboro

Social Workers and School Counselors in Solidarity:

Erica Victoria, Social Worker, Burlington

Michael Hill Jr., Social Worker, Burlington

Rachel Altman, Social Worker/Counseling Teacher, Winooski

Tara Cariano, School Counselor, HUUSD & President of the Vermont School Counselor Association

Tanya Vyhovsky, LICSW, Social Worker, Essex,

Declan McDaid, Social Worker, Chittenden County

Healthcare Professionals in Solidarity:

Kimberly Yousey-Hindes, MPH, CPH, Epidemiologist, Colchester

Carina McCauley RN, Richmond

Non-profit Workers in Solidarity:

Rachel Siegel, Executive Director, Peace & Justice Center

Elizabeth Christie, Trustee, Turrell Fund; former Executive Director, Windham Child Care Association

Nell Carpenter, Youth Program Manager at Vermont Works for Women, Burlington

Athena Kafantaris, Outreach & WBTV-LP Coordinator, Media Factory

Small Business Owners in Solidarity:

Colette Kulig, owner Colette Kulig Photography, Inc.

Politicians in Solidarity:

Rep. Brian Cina, Social Worker and State Representative, Burlington (Chittenden 6-4)

Rep. Diana González, State Representative, Winooski/Burlington (Chittenden 6-7)

Rep. Hal Colston, State Representative, Winooski/Burlington (Chittenden 6-7)

Rep. Ann Pugh, State Representative, South Burlington (Chittenden 7-2)

Rep. Zachariah Ralph, State Representative, Hartland (Windsor-1)

Rep. Mari Cordes, State Representative, Lincoln (Addison- 4)

Councilor Perri Freeman, City Councilor, Burlington (Central District)

Councilor Jane Stromberg, City Councilor, Burlington (Ward 8)

Council President Max Tracy, City Councilor, Burlington (Ward 2)

Councilor Brian Pine, City Councilor, Burlington (Ward 3)

Councilor Jack Hanson, City Councilor, Burlington (East District)

Representative Jim McCullough, Williston

Rep. Selene Colburn, Chittenden 6-4, Burlington

Ali Dieng, City Councilor, Burlington (Ward 7)

In Solidarity With Vermont’s Early Childhood Educators, the Following Labor Unions, also endorse this letter:

David Van Deusen, President of Vermont AFL-CIO

Traven Leyshon, President of Green Mountain Central Labor Council

Dan Cornell, President of AFSCME Local 490 (Bennington County)

Tom Franzoni, President of AFSCME Local 1201(Rutland & Addison Counties)

Damion Gilbert, President of AFSCME 1343 (Chittenden & Franklin County)

Randy Edmonds, President of AFSCME 1369 (Washington County)

Dan Peyser, President of AFSCME Local 1674 (Howard Center)

Rubin Serrano, President of AFSCME Local 2413 (Northeast Kingdom)

Dana Wright, President of AFSCME Local 3797 (Windsor County)

Brittany Rhodes, President of AFSCME Local 3977 (Lamoille County Mental Health)

Tim Birch, International Representative of AFSCME Local 4802 (Vermont Home Healthcare Providers)

Jason Serota-Winston, Vice President for Health Care for AFT-VT, Chief Steward for Critical Care, VT Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals

Omar Fernandez, President of APWU-Vermont

Julie Roberts, President, United Academics, University of Vermont

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