Cynthia Smith McCollum, who oversees two private child care centers in Austin, Texas, is sure that requiring her staff to get vaccinated was the right choice, even though it meant losing six of them.

“There was a lot of sadness, but I did not ever question that it was the right decision for the children,” McCollum said.

A few of the people who left because of the mandate had worked for decades at Open Door Preschools, which focus on serving children with developmental differences alongside typically developing peers. One longtime employee told her he wouldn’t get vaccinated if someone held a gun to his head.