Keep working or homeschool kids? Some parents face difficult choice during coronavirus

As officials mull whether and how to reopen schools come fall, parents are on the edge of their seats.

Some school districts are still looking ahead to in-person classes, as others plan to implement online options for parents who may not feel safe sending their children back to school.

For some parents, however, choosing whether to send their children back to the classroom or use online schooling options isn’t simple — especially when it comes to balancing their children’s education with work responsibilities.

“We have it good in many ways, however it’s still been a real challenge for us over the last few months,” parent Deb Perelman told KTRK.

Perelman’s husband Alex was recently laid off and the pair are struggling to juggle caring for their two children with work obligations, according to the outlet.

As the new school year looms, Perelman said she worries moms might have choose between working and taking care of their children full-time, KTRK reported.

“Childcare has always been an issue. It’s never been easy for working parents to figure out what to do with their kids all day. And this isn’t a new problem,” Perelman told the outlet. “It’s not okay to tell working parents that they should lose their livelihood. It’s not okay to say that you can go to a bar or restaurant or hair salon, but your kids can’t finish kindergarten.”

Haley Campbell, 29, decided to resign from her full-time job as an insulin pump technician in Idaho to homeschool her

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Make a vaccine? I’m trying to teach my kids the alphabet

By Kate Holton, Emma Thomasson and Stephen Jewkes

LONDON/BERLIN/MILAN (Reuters) – It’s tough to do any useful work when you’re stuck at home, struggling to home-school bickering kids, let alone when you’re trying to produce a COVID-19 vaccine.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca had spent years preparing for a pandemic, but when the moment finally came it was caught cold on a crucial front: stressed parents working from home struggled to focus.

    So the company recruited up to 80 teachers to run online lessons and repurposed a car parking app to book virtual classes. It also lined up personal tutoring and helped to locate some childcare spaces for those battling to adapt to the abrupt change to their lives.  

    The move by Britain’s biggest drugmaker, and similar efforts by companies the world over to host everything from magic classes to yoga for children, shows the lengths businesses are going to to help staff work through the coronavirus crisis.

“It was quite apparent that it was going to be really challenging for those with small kids and with two parents working,” AstraZeneca’s HR chief Fiona Cicconi told Reuters.

    “People were starting to say they were feeling really anxious, I’ve got so much to do, how am I going to get it done?”

    The new corporate attitude towards home-working could help lead to higher productivity and loyalty, according to experts, and ease moves towards more flexible working as companies rethink whether staff need to be in the office, and as schools take time to

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Art Educator Remains Dedicated To Kids During Coronavirus

ELLICOTT CITY, MD — Before the coronavirus pandemic swept across the country, Marianne Daley delighted in providing hands-on art education programs to children ages 20 months to 14 years old in Howard County.

As educational director of Abrakadoodle, Daley offered after school enrichment at schools, preschools and community centers. She also hosted summer camps, spruced up birthday parties and held Art Splash events with adults. Then the pandemic struck.

“On March 13, my business effectively closed once schools and community centers were closed. So, after the initial panic set in, it was time to get to work and start figuring out a ‘new normal.’ We’ve been offering a free weekly challenge (#SplatDoodle) on social media. It was a way to stay connected to my families and has been really well received,” Daley told Patch. “I wanted to keep the children engaged, so I created an Amazon wish list and I have wonderful friends who purchased various art supplies for me to provide to the children who have participated. Each week, I deliver ‘Happy Mail’ to the wonderful artists who have submitted art. This challenge is open to all.”

Another way Daley has kept in touch with her clients is by offering lessons via Zoom, art supply kits and DIY project kits. She’s had a presence in Howard County since 2017, but has expanded somewhat into Anne Arundel County. She’s missed being face-to-face with her customers and the kids.

“I have always loved children and art. I was in marketing for

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If schools don’t reopen, will parents have to choose between jobs and kids?

With as little as a month before school starts in some areas and COVID-19 diagnoses spiking in some of those same places, parents are wondering whether they have to choose between their jobs and their kids.

“This situation isn’t just untenable, it’s impossible.”

After word reached parents in New York City that the department of education was considering a hybrid plan for reopening schools that would allow students at school for part of the week, Smitten Kitchen founder Deb Perelman tweeted what she later called the “primal scream that we — and countless other parents for whom this situation isn’t just untenable, it’s impossible — have been feeling since March.”


Perelman said a hybrid reopening plan would leave working parents “ground up in the gears” between reopened cities and closed or partially closed schools.


“I wish someone would just say the quiet part out loud,” Perelman tweeted. “In the COVID economy, you’re only allowed a kid OR a job.”

Perelman concluded her self-described rant, “What I am simmering with white hot rage over is the idea that both plans are moving ahead — an open economy but mostly closed schools, camps — as if it would be totally okay if a generation of parents lost their careers, insurance, and livelihoods in the process. It’s outrageous.”

Other school systems have begun to announce plans, including those for Lexington, Massachusetts, public schools, where the only two options for parents and students will be remote learning or a hybrid plan.

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Whatever back to school looks like, it has to serve the kids without internet and tech

I’m USA TODAY editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll, and this is The Backstory, insights into our biggest stories of the week. If you’d like to get The Backstory in your inbox every week, sign up here.

This week, I got a survey from my son’s school. It asked, on a scale of “unsure” to “very comfortable,” how comfortable are you with your student attending in-person classes this fall?

This was in the same week we learned the U.S. could be headed toward 100,000 coronavirus cases a day, hospitalizations are rising in 12 states, hot spot Arizona delayed the start of its school year and the American Academy of Pediatrics urged schools to hold in-person classes because of the negative social, emotional and academic impact on kids.

I didn’t see an option for “of course I want kids back in school but don’t want students or teachers to get sick or spread the virus to vulnerable parents or grandparents, but yes parents need to be able to work, and we know some kids do fine with distance learning but others struggle and some outright disappear and we can’t leave any child behind.”

That wasn’t one of the five boxes to check.. 

USA TODAY’s Erin Richards reported this week that many kids will be headed toward hybrid schedules, in which they would attend school on alternating days or weeks to maintain physical distancing in class. 

Other schools will give parents the choice: return to school full time, stay home and learn online from your

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