What About Parents: A Response to School Closures and Working Parents
As many schools announce virtual learning options and school closures, the question, “What about parents?” comes to mind. While the health and safety of teachers and students is of the utmost importance, many educators and policymakers seem to be overlooking an important factor in the decision-making process—parents.
Although many parents are concerned for the health of their children, they are equally concerned with their academic performance. According to a survey that ABC News conducted, 59% of parents are concerned with their child falling behind in their academics. ¹ Their hesitations are entirely justified. Researchers have evaluated lost knowledge by utilizing data from past disruptions (i.e. natural disasters, summer break) and results did not pan well. The research demonstrates that the average student has the potential to lose as much as a third of their reading comprehension gained in the 2019-2020 school year, whereas math was as much as half. ²
Families have felt policymakers have not put their best interests forward. Parents are expected to bring in an income yet drop their working schedules to abide by bus cancellations, school closures, virtual learning, and involuntary homeschooling. Parents and caregivers feel forced to choose either their kids or their jobs—an unrealistic expectation. Research conducted by Northeastern University economists in May/June found that 13.3% of working parents lost their job or decreased their hours due to lack in childcare. ³ To avoid taking time off or resigning from their positions, parents have also sought assistance from their older children to care for the younger. This is not only unfair to teens, but sways focus from their own schooling. Thus, parents have felt the burden of being a parent, employee, and teacher.
Besides taking on the new role of teacher, parents and caregivers are tasked with transforming into counselors. Students will be forced to sit in front of screens for up to seven hours a day, limiting their social contact and increasing their exposure to media coverage. The CDC itself states that extending school closures is detrimental to social and emotional development, increasing the prospect of risky behavior. ⁴ School age children and teens are social beings whose developmental and cognitive growth depends on social interaction with peers. Additionally, Americans have a cultural history of coming together after tragedy, yet COVID-19 prohibits this sort of therapeutic gathering. To help prevent emotional impact on young minds, parents and caregivers are encouraged to lessen exposure to media and create routines to reduce anxiety caused by uncertainty.
Simply put, decisions should not be made without providing solutions. One of the best skills we can apply during this pandemic is perspective—the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another. Studyville wants to be a part of this solution. Amidst academic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Studyville will remain open throughout school closures and virtual learning. During normal school hours, our facility will be accessible for members to continue their education with qualified tutors on-hand to guide them through online school. Studyville will be spacious, safe, and clean, adhering to all health and social distancing measures as put forth by the CDC and local government entities. Temperature checks, health screenings, sanitations stations, and even individual desk mats will be implemented to keep the space COVID-free. In addition, Studyville will follow state guidelines for use of masks and face coverings.
Studyville members will also have access to on-demand homework support, private tutoring, ACT® Prep, college admissions counseling, homeschool programs, and so much more! Should a member be quarantined for the virus or virus exposure, that student can still access homework support through our homework support hotline. Created with the family in mind, Studyville is a convenient, relaxing space for students to get their work done and for parents to feel confident in their student’s whereabouts.
If you have questions, comments, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (225) 306-1007.