Many parents will have to stop working if most schools don’t fully reopen

When states and economic conditions forced childcare providers to close, numerous working parents were put in jeopardy. Many parents, some who were working from home faced disruptions with their work. And those who were commuting had to make a choice between staying at home to take care of their kids or going to work. School closings did not help the situation one bit.

School closings affect Working parents

We are now close to the opening of the new school season. And the issue has not changed. While some childcare providers have opened in most states, the possibility that most schools are going to be closed still presents an issue for working parents. Lack of access to childcare often forces parents out of the labor force.  And this is bound to damage the economy.

Single parents, parents with young children and parents who can’twork from home are the groups most at risk to stop working entirely because they have no child care, said Goldman Sachs (GS) economists David Choi and Joseph Briggs in a note to clients on Tuesday.
Nearly a third of the pre-pandemic US labor force has kids at home, and about 15% of the work force fallsinto at least two of those three risk categories above, Choi and Briggs said. That totals about 24 million people.
Since May, some 7 million people per week have not workedbecause they didn’t have access to childcare, according to data from the Census Household Pulse Survey, a number that accounts for about 14% of virus-related reasons for missing working.

But reopening is more than just about childcare

Reopening schools is also more than about just childcare. Schools are an essential economic engine in many ways. Additionally, reopening is good for students well being and education outcomes.
While the employment of teachers is back to its pre-Covid levels, schools employ plenty of additional staff, such as cafeteria and custodial workers, who canonly return to their jobs once schools reopen. And if support staff don’t, that could drag the unemployment rate by some 0.2 percentage points, the Goldman economists said.
The spring shutdown in the education sector alone shaved 2.2 percentage points off annualized economic growth in the second quarter of the year, Choi and Briggs added.
For students, learning from home may also have plenty of long-run effects, including lower-quality education, a lack of development in social skills and food insecurity for kids reliant on school lunches. All of that can translate into worsening income and educational inequality later in life.


Everything considered the argument to reopen schools physically is pretty strong, especially considering research showing that kids have low risk of contracting the virus and are less likely to transmit it. Most states, however, Minnesota included, have moved towards plans that place most learning long distance. Everything else set aside, this will affect working parents heavily.