Another reason to reopen schools: Parents with kids stuck learning remotely are twice as likely to be unemployed or working only part-time

For the last several months, Americans have had a nationwide debate on the need to reopen schools. The intensity of that debate has picked up over the last few weeks with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The fight over returning to schools has centered largely on the well-being of students. Is it safe for kids to be in the classroom? Are kids learning as well with remote learning as they would be in the classroom? How is not being at school impacting their mental and emotional health?

Naturally, there also have been discussions about teacher safety. Which, of course, brought the unions to the forefront of the fight over reopening and exposed their role in keeping schools closed.

But one group heavily impacted by school closures has not received nearly as much attention: parents, specifically working (or formerly working) parents.

A new Gallup survey revealed this week that parents of students learning remotely are twice as likely to be either working only part time or unemployed as the parents of students who are in the classroom full time.

What did the survey say?

According to Gallup’s report, nearly three-quarters of parents said their student is doing the remote-learning thing at least part time. Some 55% of parents said their student is full-time remote, and 18% said their child is part-time remote.

Only 26% of parents with kids in school said their child is learning in person full-time.

It turns out being forced to have kids at home for remote learning may well have a negative impact on employment.

Parents whose children are doing remote learning full or part time are two times more likely to be either unemployed or employed part time than those whose kids have daily in-person learning. Plus, parents of remote learners are markedly more likely to not even be in the labor force.

From Gallup:

Broken down by moms and dads, the survey found that a clear majority (57%) of women with kids in school full time are employed full time, while just over a third (38%) of women with kids learning remotely are employed full time.

Women with kids learning remotely are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed or employed part time.

The impact on men’s employment is equally profound.

Just 61% of men with kids stuck with remote learning are employed full time while 87% of men with kids at school every day are fully employed.

Men with children learning remotely are more than twice as likely to be employed part time and four times more likely to be unemployed.

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