Staff at crèches and after-school care facilities should be among the first to be offered the vaccine, especially since more contagious variants of the coronavirus are circulating, says the Swiss Childcare Association, Kibesuisse.This content was published on January 23, 2021 - 12:57
The system of childcare services is considered vital to the economy because it ensures the well-being of children and helps working parents – yet during the pandemic it has been neglected by authorities, the umbrella organisation claimed in a press release on Friday.
Kibesuisse said getting childcare workers vaccinated early would help the sector to avoid staff shortages due to quarantine measures or illness. It is demanding, as the teachers’ federation have done for its staff, that childcare personnel be next in line for the vaccine after risk groups and healthcare workers.
“We’re talking about the positive development of the youngest in our society and about supporting the Swiss economy,” Michele Kaufmann Meyer of Kibesuisse told Swiss public radio RTS. “A parent who can’t send their child to the crèche can’t go to work.”
Compensation for parents
The association is also asking the authorities to offer financial compensation to parents who choose not to send their children to childcare facilities as a way of relieving the burden on crèches, and parents who may eventually need to find alternatives when these facilities become short-staffed and can no longer welcome their charges.
Roughly one-third of children in Switzerland – between 180,000 to 200,000 – attends a crèche, according to estimates by the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Social Affairs.