back to work? Some parents say they haven’t raised their children in Limbo yet.

Brianna McCain quit her job as an office manager to take care of her two young daughters when the pandemic began. By last spring she was ready to get back to work. But she couldn’t because her children were still at home.

She was looking for jobs with flexible time and the ability to work from home, but these are difficult to find, especially for new hires and hourly workers. She will not be able to work directly until the 6-year-old school opens, and her district in Portland, Oregon has not announced plans. She also needs childcare for a two-year-old child, which is cheaper than she earns, but childcare availability is well below pre-pandemic levels, covering the cost of Covid’s safety measures. Prices are rising to do.

“Especially when it comes to new jobs, I’m inflexible,” says McCain, a warehouse worker who is a partner, unable to work from home. “And I don’t know if Covid’s unknowns will drive my child out of school for quarantine or stop school.”

Many parents of young children (children under the age of 12 who have not yet been vaccinated) say they cannot be vaccinated, especially as Delta variants become more widespread. Return to work Or apply for a new job as long as there is uncertainty about when your child will be able to Return to safety For full-time school and childcare.

Companies have struggled to hire and retain workers For other reasons, And many parents had I have no choice but to work.. (and Recent Census Bureau Survey, 5% of parents say their child is not currently participating in childcare for pandemic-related reasons. However, in the case of a group of parents who still have children at home, they are disproportionately black and Latino, and some have medically vulnerable families. That is an important challenge.

“Childcare issues and pandemics cannot be divorced,” said Ann Elizabeth Konkel, Indeed Hiring Lab economist. “It’s important to remember the workers who work every day.”

of Indeed survey this summer, One-third of job seekers say they don’t want to get a job next month, and a significant percentage say they are waiting for the school to open. Of those who are unemployed but not urgently looking, nearly one-fifth said they were responsible for their care. Those without a college degree were more likely to cite such reasons and were more likely to be unable to work from home or buy a nanny.

Summer is always a challenge for working parents, especially this year. Many camps were held with shorter schedules and fewer children to meet safety guidelines. Others have shut down Due to lack of recruitment. And many parents are reluctant to send their children because of the risk of being exposed to Covid.

Autumn looks more and more uncertain. Some workplaces have suspended the resumption of plans for Delta Air Lines, and parents are worried that the school will follow. Specific company, Including McDonald’s, And state, like Illinois, Trying to anticipate this by providing childcare allowances to help parents return to work. According to employer-based childcare company Bright Horizon, 75 companies launched backup childcare this year, and other companies such as PayPal expanded their pandemic expansion benefits throughout the year.

Most school districts still say they plan to open full-time without the shortened schedule that many had last spring. According to the University of Washington’s Center for Reinvention of Public Education, the five largest in the country have announced plans to reopen. Tracking the district’s reaction to a pandemic.. However, some plans were still sparse in detail, and districts where union negotiations were still taking place failed to answer all of their parents’ questions.

“What surprised us most this summer was the lack of publicly available clarity about what to expect,” said Bree Dusseault, who heads the data effort. “Families need to know so they can build their lives.”

Even district parents who have already announced plans to reopen face uncertainty. Do you have after-school childcare or extracurricular activities? Do my family need to be quarantined for two weeks if there is a school incident? If the number of cases continues to increase, could the school be closed again?

For Alexis Lohse, the two mothers of St. Paul, Minnesota, Delta feels like there are too many detours. She lived in poverty as a single mother. In her thirties, she was the first family member to go on to college and earn a master’s degree. She got a job in the state government and had the long-awaited promotion opportunity just before the pandemic.

But when the school was closed, she couldn’t pursue it. She continued to work, but set aside all promotion opportunities and saved time. (Husband, a mail carrier, couldn’t.) Currently, her county has been identified by the CDC at significant risk levels, and the school opens shortly after a large rally at the Minnesota State Fair. She is full-time and skeptical because she plans to. School will happen.

“I don’t know how to get back on track, especially the question there, that is, how the school will reopen. When; Variant; Behavior of everyone else. Opening and closing the school at strange random times,” she said. Said.

She says the safety net she built for her was demolished. And it’s very frustrating that the same brick wall I struck 16 years ago struck again in a pandemic. “

Faced by many parents of preschoolers Lack Of the childcare opening. One-third of a nursery school Will not be resumed, studies showThose who are still closed have served disproportionately to Asian, Latin and black families.The open one is working with 70% capacity,on average.they have I had a hard time hiring Qualified teachers; classes should be kept small to limit exposure to the virus. And we raised the price to cover new health and cleaning measures.

Daphne Muller, two mothers in Los Angeles and a tech consultant, calls the kindergarten almost every week to see if there’s room for the youngest. I myself. I have to quit because I don’t want to get a job. “

Parents also need to plan for confusion, such as post-exposure quarantine periods and rising community case rates.

Beesorpe, the mother of two in Richmond, Virginia, said her children’s child care centers were closed three times last year, each for two weeks, reducing cleaning time. Her husband, a lawyer, was much less flexible than her, so special attention was given to her.

“What that means is that I’m not really a job hunter,” she said. “I can’t hear you in an interview.’Are you sure you want to take off for two weeks without notice?’ It’s frustrating to hear comments about how people aren’t applying for a job. Maybe people I want those jobs. They can’t do it now. “

Other parents are not yet ready to send unvaccinated children to school. Amy Korev is a mother of three and a construction project manager in Glen Burnie, Maryland.When virtual school is too strict, she and her husband, a software programmer, She decided to quit.. She is anxious to come back, but there is no danger of exposing her children.

“I’m going to return when the children are vaccinated, not the day before,” she said.

back to work? Some parents say they haven’t raised their children in Limbo yet.

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