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
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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
Heard on:
The burdens on families include paying for devices, internet connection and lunches, but also concerns about career growth for parents. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
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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

Millions of Americans are unemployed, but businesses say they are having trouble hiring. Why?

This economic crisis is unusual compared to traditional recessions, according to Daniel Zhao, senior economist with Glassdoor. “Many workers are still sitting out of the labor force because of health concerns or child care needs, and that makes it tough to find workers regardless of what you’re doing with wages or benefits,” Zhao said. “An extra dollar an hour isn’t going to make a cashier with preexisting conditions feel that it’s safe to return to work.” This can be seen in the restaurant industry: Some workers have quit or are reluctant to apply because of COVID-19 concerns, low pay, meager benefits and the stress that comes with a fast-paced, demanding job. Restaurants have been willing to offer signing bonuses and temporary wage increases. One McDonald’s is even paying people $50 just to interview.

Could waiving patents increase the global supply of COVID-19 vaccines?

India and South Africa have introduced a proposal to temporarily suspend patents on COVID-19 vaccines. Backers of the plan say it would increase the supply of vaccines around the world by allowing more countries to produce them. Skeptics say it’s not that simple. There’s now enough supply in the U.S that any adult who wants a shot should be able to get one soon. That reality is years away for most other countries. More than 100 countries have backed the proposal to temporarily waive COVID-19 vaccine patents. The U.S isn’t one of them, but the White House has said it’s considering the idea.

Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy continues reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.

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