Flexible families and school closures

Tonya Mead, PhD, MBA, M.Ed, School Psychologist

The U.S. Census Bureau (as reported by Healthline) conducted a survey to determine the challenges parents face during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, school closures, remote and hybrid learning. They determined that “1 in 5 working-age adults said they were not working because the pandemic derailed their career existing child care setups. About 32 percent of women ages 25 to 44 compared to 12 percent of men in the same age group are not working because of child care concerns.”

These concerns are grounded in the lack of structured care during the day for their school aged children attending pre-k and k-12 schools. For instance, Ballopedia surveyed the school closure landscape in the US and found that New Mexico and West Virginia have state restricted in person school learning. At the same time, North Carolina, Delaware, Rhode Island, and California state governments have ordered partial in-person learning.

In the face of these mounting challenges, parent remain resilient as they manage toward these objectives:

Parent challenges during COVID-19 pandemic

  1. Reduce family stressors associated with the pandemic,
  2. Maintain financial stability,
  3. Reduce the potential lapse in academic learning,
  4. Lower the threat of death, loss of life and slide toward learned helplessness attitudes,
  5. Mitigate the negative impacts of lost academic learning among their children and the potential for loss of life.

With these goals in mind, anecdotal information from the field as well as academic research generated the following tactics demonstrating flexibility and resourcefulness used by informed parents.

Possible strategies to address COVID-19 challenges

  1. Disenroll kids from public k-12 schools and enroll them into private or boarding schools,
  2. Relocate the family to neighboring district pubic schools or states within the US that remain open, and
  3. Move across the global to resettle in countries with open public schools and fewer incidences of violence and riots related to the pandemic,
  4. Hire private tutors,
  5. Establish a community learning pod within the neighborhood. Learning pods are a relatively new phenomenon. NY Times also refers to them as ‘pandemic pods‘ or ‘micro-schools‘ or ‘nano-schools‘ of three to ten students who participate in learning activities with shared teaching duties distributed among the parents.
  6. Leave their child with relatives.
  7. Commit to home-schooling. EdWeek found in a recent survey that 9% of parents who did not home school during SY 2019, ” said they planned to home school their children at least some of the time this school year.”


While all of these options may not be available to everyone, it is incumbent that those that have been blessed with more resources and talent to share their knowledge, expertise, time and talent with families and students struggling to maintain financial and academic stability and growth.

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Dr. Mead, PhD, MBA, MA https://ishareknowledge.com is a consultant specializing in human behavior, school and social psychology. She can be contacted at: tonya dot ishareknowledge dot com