Giving Compass' Take:

• Working parents are necessary for economic recovery during COVID-19, but will have to rely on the innovation in re-opening childcare programs and schools. 

• How can donors provide services for working parents that need help during the pandemic? 

• Read about the struggles for working moms during COVID-19. 

The school year may be over, but the pandemic is not. After forcing closures of schools and child care programs—along with much of the economy—COVID-19 cases are rising in a majority of states. This trend does not bode well for the reopening of those programs and schools, which typically welcome students back within the next eight weeks.

Some states are allowing schools to reopen for summer programming, while others have announced there will be at least some in-person instruction in the fall. Child care programs, too, are beginning to reopen. But this crisis has taken its toll. Day care centers are struggling to stay afloat after months of little to no revenue. Many may never reopen, aggravating an already strained child care system. And schools that move toward reopening may not have enough teachers, as some choose not to return to the classroom.

For working parents, the uncertainty surrounding child care and in-person instruction for school-aged children is unprecedented, with a cascading set of consequences on family life, education, and earnings. Moreover, in the event that child care and schools do fully reopen, some parents may not be confident in the safety of those environments and opt to keep their children home.

Parents with minor children comprise almost one-third of the country’s workforce; any economic recovery will rely on their continued participation or re-entry into the labor force. The status of schools and child care programs in the fall will dictate the ability of working parents to fully return to work, and therefore will also largely dictate the speed and robustness of economic recovery.

The task of jumpstarting the economy will require millions of Americans to either remain in their current jobs or, for those laid off, to return to the workforce as soon as possible. This could be especially difficult in regions where school- and child-care-dependent working parents make up a high share of the overall workforce.

Read the full article about working parents by Nicole Bateman at Brookings.