- For working parents, virtual learning comes at a steep cost — both at home and on the job.
- "They’re faced with the possibility of leaving a job or reducing their work hours to homeschool," said Troy Frerichs, vice president at Country Financial.
As many parents experienced in the spring, remote learning asks a lot from them, too.
Not only do many children need assistance with school work and scheduling but, at the very least, they require basic supervision, which means an adult must be at home to help.
To that point, 21% of parents said that they had to change or reduce work hours due to changes in school or child care as a result of the coronavirus crisis, according to a new report from Country Financial.
Another 7% of parents had to leave a job altogether.
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"Parents are being forced to make financial decisions that were not a part of their plan before the pandemic hit," said Troy Frerichs, a vice president at Country Financial.
"Now, they're faced with the possibility of leaving a job or reducing their work hours to home-school or help their kids with remote learning, which can have a major financial impact on their household."
From buying more groceries to new computers and technology upgrades, having children home every day also costs more, with parents estimating they'll spend up to an additional $500 a month to cover these expenses, the report found. Country Financial polled more than 1,300 adults in August.
"That double whammy is certainly real," Frerichs said.
More than half of parents with children under 18 said they have additional financial concerns this year as a result of the pandemic.
The majority of students in elementary school and high school will have a parent remaining at home with them, according to a separate survey from Debt.com.
About half of parents said they expect to lose some percentage of their household income because of schools closing, that report found. Very few families said they'd use day care if the option were available. Most will require at-home supervision.
As of a recent tally, a little more than half of U.S. elementary and high school students will attend school only virtually this fall, although changes are announced daily.
As more schools pivot to remote schedules, the number of parents in a bind could increase even more.
Nearly three-fourths, or 73%, of parents said they plan to make major changes to their professional lives to accommodate the lack of child care, according to a Care.com survey of parents with children under the age of 15. About 15% of those are considering leaving the workforce altogether.
To address the ongoing challenges, lawmakers are debating increased funding to child care in the next comprehensive relief package, but Frerichs cautions families against banking on it.
Instead, he advises parents to seek out the help of a financial professional.
"Now is a time parents have to reassess their financial goals and create a new game plan that takes changes to their income as well as new expenses into account," Frerichs said.