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Pandemic problems continue for parents working and watching kids at home

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A 13-year-old student takes part in remote distance learning on a Chromebook with the help of her mother at home on October 28, 2020 in Stamford, Connecticut.

John Moore/Getty Images

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For many parents, school holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic don’t feel much different from a regular day of remote learning for their kids. Parents, especially mothers, continue to face the challenges of both working and supervising their kids’ school days at home.

Johanna Meagher has three kids ages 10, 8 and 4. She worked for a big hospital in Washington, D.C., until the pandemic hit.

“My oldest daughter is very high risk for COVID, she has a chronic lung disease, and I wasn’t able to work from home, so I had to leave that position,” Meagher said.

She was unemployed, schooling her kids at home, and didn’t have any income until her unemployment benefits came through in August.

To help parents like Meagher, Democrats in Congress want to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, said Dawn Huckelbridge at the group Paid Leave for All.

“This pandemic has reemphasized how critical this is to our functioning as families and an economy,” Huckelbridge said.

Meagher now has a new job she can do from home, while the older kids do schoolwork and the youngest is in daycare.

“My littlest one struggles to let me work,” she said with a laugh.

Meagher said she needs schools to open in the fall so her youngest can go to kindergarten. Otherwise she’ll have to give up work — again.

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