Will Parents Have to Choose Between Jobs and Kids if Schools Don't Reopen?


As coronavirus cases continue to spike across the country, many schools are grappling with what reopening will look like when school starts back up again in the fall. This leaves parents wondering if they'll have to choose between their kids and their jobs.

Deb Perelman, founder of Smitten Kitchen, took to Twitter to voice some of her concerns around kids going back to school part-time while parents are expected to return to their full-time work.

She referred to the circumstances as a "primal scream that we - and countless other parents for whom this situation isn't just untenable, it's impossible - have been feeling since March."

"I wish someone would just say the quiet part out loud," Perelman wrote. "In the COVID economy, you're only allowed a kid OR a job."

Meanwhile, schools have begun to announce their plans for reopening in the fall. Schools in Lexington, Massachusetts have opted for either remote learning or a hybrid plan.

Lexington parents, however, remain displeased, saying the move is "deaf" to working parents who have made their pleas known.

Melissa Kearney, professor of economics at University of Maryland, told Today that Perelman's tweets opened up a crucial issue that the country is having trouble facing and resolving.

"We're not doing nearly enough to figure out how to get kids back to school - which is critical, both for kids' development and learning - and workers back to work," she said.

Kearney also found that only 16% of couples have a non-working spouse at home who could aid in keeping kids on track as they grapple with remote learning, forcing many homes to choose between childcare and their jobs.

"I'm not sure how people are supposed to piece that together," Kearney said.

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