Parenting in a Pandemic

Families are worried about the costs of online learning, study shows

David Brancaccio, Kristin Schwab, and Alex Schroeder Aug 13, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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The burdens on families include paying for devices, internet connection and lunches, but also concerns about career growth for parents. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Parenting in a Pandemic

Families are worried about the costs of online learning, study shows

David Brancaccio, Kristin Schwab, and Alex Schroeder Aug 13, 2020
The burdens on families include paying for devices, internet connection and lunches, but also concerns about career growth for parents. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

We have parents, students, teachers and school adminstrators across the country worried about how to safely pull off this new school term and still get people educated. A new study Thursday morning from Bankrate suggests people are not just worried about the quality of education and scheduling, but also what online or partial online learning will do to their finances and careers.

Marketplace’s Kristin Schwab has more, and the following is an edited transcript of her conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.

David Brancaccio: Where are parents spending their money?

Kristin Schwab: There are a lot of costs that come with school from home. Parents can’t depend on school lunches and special learning programs. And of course there’s the technology upgrade for households that don’t have the internet or need a better connection. Plus, families with multiple kids need multiple devices.

Brancaccoi: And many parents who are asked to work from home and also feel they have to lend time and energy to their child’s online learning. That can be a lot.

Schwab: The study shows parents are worried they’re missing out on career growth. And yeah, part of that has to do with time, with respondents saying they’ll have to work fewer hours. Even more alarming, 15% of parents say they may have to stop working altogether.

Brancaccio: And the burdens among families aren’t equal.

Schwab: Of course, like everything else in this pandemic, the financial burden of online learning is not equal. Ted Rossman, an analyst at Bankrate, says millennial parents feel they’ll be affected the most.

Ted Rossman: They’re the most likely to have younger kids. And I think that that poses a whole other set of challenges with remote learning and with child care and just making it all work.

Schwab: It doesn’t help that millennials in general have little financial stability. They’re less likely to own homes and more likely to have student loan debt. And those things add to the daily stresses and finances of getting through this pandemic.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

With a slow vaccine rollout so far, how has the government changed its approach?

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced changes to how the federal government is distributing vaccine doses. The CDC has expanded coronavirus vaccine eligibility to everyone 65 and older, along with people with conditions that might raise their risks of complications from COVID-19. The new approach also looks to reward those states that are the most efficient by giving them more doses, but critics say that won’t address underlying problems some states are having with vaccine rollout.

What kind of help can small businesses get right now?

A new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans recently became available for pandemic-ravaged businesses. These loans don’t have to be paid back if rules are met. Right now, loans are open for first-time applicants. And the application has to go through community banking organizations — no big banks, for now, at least. This rollout is designed to help business owners who couldn’t get a PPP loan before.

What does the hiring situation in the U.S. look like as we enter the new year?

New data on job openings and postings provide a glimpse of what to expect in the job market in the coming weeks and months. This time of year typically sees a spike in hiring and job-search activity, says Jill Chapman with Insperity, a recruiting services firm. But that kind of optimistic planning for the future isn’t really the vibe these days. Job postings have been lagging on the job search site Indeed. Listings were down about 11% in December compared to a year earlier.

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