February 9, 2021 by Ally Donnelly (courtesy photos)
Maureen Fox has been a mainstay in the lives of local families for decades. Fox, or "Miss Mo" as she’s affectionately called by children tall and small, is the director of Sandcastles Childcare Center, in Hingham.
Like most businesses when Covid hit, Sandcastles shut down, but reopened just four months later in July. "The fact of the matter is, if I didn't go back to work, the school wasn't going to open," she says. "My Sandcastles families needed me to show up."
In the height of the pandemic, essential workers were hailed as heroes for keeping shelves stocked, grocery stores open and children cared for so desperate parents could work. But, now, Fox says, when it's time to figure out who gets vaccinated and when, it feels different.
"I think people forget that we were one of the first ones to go back," she says. "You know, we're one of the only essential workers working with unmasked clients in very close proximity. You can't social distance a toddler, you can't expect an infant to wear a mask. We're holding babies and loving them and doing everything we did before the pandemic, because that's what they need. And that's what I need. It's one of the great joys of my job that I get to snuggle everybody's kids.
That's what daycare does, it normalizes going back to work. We are stimulating the economy in a really quiet way. So it's easy to forget that we're here."
Listen to this week’s episode of The Hingham Cast, “The Vaccine Line–What About Us?” to hear Fox share the fear and turmoil when there is even a whiff of a Covid scare in daycare.
Learn about the teachers, mostly women, forced to burn all their vacation and sick days if they need to quarantine–and the financial hardships it presents. Hear why Fox worries vaccination of daycare workers could take even longer than she first thought.
We also hear from Carlene Pavlos, the head of the Massachusetts Public Health Association about the state's rocky rollout of the vaccine and what that's meant for at-risk communities and the larger picture of equity.
Finally, we hear from Susan Sarni, Hingham's Executive Health Officer. She takes us through the nitty gritty of being vaccinated locally, the challenges she faces with supply and why she warns we can’t let our guard down.
You can hear the full episode by subscribing to The Hingham Cast via the following link: https://hinghamanchor.com/the-hingham-cast/.