Dear Early Childhood Education Providers:
The City of Evanston greatly values and appreciates the enormous contributions and sacrifices that all Evanston educators, from early childhood through high school, have made throughout this pandemic.
That is why we were disappointed to receive your letter regarding the recent rollout of vaccines to the educator community. The fact is, the rollout of vaccines to Evanston educators is exactly the opposite of what is described in your letter.
As part of Phase 1b of the City’s phased vaccine distribution process, the City’s Health & Human Services Department placed all in-person educators in the same group and prioritized them by age, starting with the oldest.
The City has never prioritized District 65 over any other entity providing childcare or education for Evanston’s children. Your statement that the age limit was only applied to early childhood teachers and not across the board is simply not accurate. Vaccines were distributed by descending age to in-person educators and in-person staff.
The City of Evanston has not distributed vaccines to teachers who are on remote instruction. It is precisely because we value early childhood educators the same as District 65 teachers that all individuals were placed in the same group as soon as public health guidance dictated that teachers were eligible for vaccinations and prioritization occurred.
I understand that there is a lot of misinformation and anxiety throughout the community regarding vaccines, but we must address this with facts, not with erroneous editorials to the local newspapers.
We would have very much appreciated the opportunity to clarify the City’s vaccination plans and process with you before reading your letter.
As a parent of four young children who have been in the Evanston early childhood community from birth, I am acutely aware of the struggles and inequities that early childhood providers face on a daily basis. That is why I advocate, hold up and support early childhood professionals at all times, in all cases.
I am sorry you have to feel like society at large does not see you the way you deserve to be seen, but I can assure you that the City of Evanston sees you as the invaluable resource and utmost professionals that you are.
Please don’t ever think you are anything less than absolutely essential.
–Erika Storlie, City Manager