Parents, students being forced back home as COVID-19 numbers rise

The pandemic is forcing many families to pivot and adapt during these difficult times and that sometimes means leaving their jobs to take care of things at home.

Most often, it's the women bearing that burden, experts say. But of course, men will make the sacrifice as well.
Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic, a high number of parents are choosing, or sometimes being left with no choice, to leave their day jobs to take care of children at home who are learning virtually.

According to a Pew Research study, in 2020, employed mothers now sits at 63.4%, for fathers, it's 85.6%. Both dropping about four to 5% from 2019.

ASU Professor, Hitendra Chaturvedi, says that the biggest reason for leaving work, taking a leave of absence or cutting hours, is the guilt of having your kids sit at home.

"You have to understand that when you are giving online education, you have to have parents supervising, they cannot just go online and learn and immerse themselves in the learning. So I will go one step ahead and say the parents of the students are working harder than teachers," Chaturvedi said.

Parents leaving the workforce is causing three fundamental issues, according to Chaturvedi.

"Less employment because automation is increasing, less money to spend in the economy causing weaker economy and a weaker society because now you're not having your kids interact and the root cause of that is coronavirus," he explained, adding that getting back into the workforce will be tough.

Either the job will be eliminated or the seat will be filled but here's what you can do when the pandemic is all said and done, according to Chatur-Vedi. His recommendation to parents who decide to go back after the pandemic is to keep in touch with their employers, stay on their radar every month or 45 days.

Anyone experiencing financial hardship during the pandemic in Arizona can find resources here.