She's been a mainstay in local families' lives for decades. Maureen Fox, or "Miss Mo" as she’s affectionately called by children tall and small (and their adults) 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 is 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."