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When schools close, moms fill in the gaps

We focus primarily on students in this newsletter, but today we take a look at working mothers who bear a disproportionate share of the burden of distance learning.

Across the country and around the world, women have made enormous personal and professional sacrifices to help their children continue to learn and their families to stay afloat during the pandemic. This is not new, but it deserves to be repeated and deepened.

“When the pandemic struck, it was largely mothers who took on the extra childcare duties; have become distance teachers; and, in large numbers, quit their jobs, ”wrote colleague Claire Cain Miller.

This fall, there are about 1.6 million fewer mothers in the workforce than one might expect without school closings, according to an analysis of employment data. And a third of working women aged 25 to 44 who are unemployed cited childcare demand as the reason, compared to just 12% of unemployed men, according to the Census Bureau.

This exodus of mothers from the labor market is, in large part, due to the closure of classes. Eight in ten mothers said they managed distance schooling in their families, according to a survey in the spring.

“For millions of working women, the coronavirus pandemic has delivered a rare and ruinous punch,” wrote our colleague Patricia Cohen.

The economic effects of the pandemic have affected sectors where women make up the majority of the workforce, such as restaurants, retail and health care. Then came the job cuts in government, where women are overrepresented. And finally, the coup de grace of distance learning.

Compared to their fathers and grandfathers, this generation of men is much more involved at home. Yet mothers are much more likely than fathers to make a professional sacrifice, according to research.

A revealing survey found that men working from home were more likely to have a separate office, while women were more likely to work at the kitchen table, where they could be interrupted at any time.

“Other countries have social safety nets; America has women, ”Indiana University sociologist Jessica Calarco told reporter Anne Helen Petersen in a recent interview for her excellent newsletter, Culture Study.

The pandemic has also exposed other inequalities, as the burden of the pandemic-induced recession fell most heavily on low-income and minority women and single mothers.

“The sudden return to 1950s-style households was not an aberration,” Claire wrote. “On the contrary, it revealed a truth: In the United States, mothers remain the back-up plan.


During the season, the entire NBA went into quarantine at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It cost a lot of money and raised eyebrows across the country as food banks grew and Americans struggled to pass tests.

Now, the men’s college basketball tournament will attempt its own version of a closed system. Officials hope that limiting travel will reduce the risk of infection for players, coaches and staff.

The location of the tournament bubble may be Indianapolis, which can pose challenges: Over the past seven days, the Indiana Department of Health has reported a 12% positivity rate for blood tests. virus.


Cash-strapped universities may sell dorms to real estate developers to fill budget deficits during the pandemic.

The trend predates the pandemic. Yeshiva University in New York City began selling student housing after its endowment fell by $ 90 million in 2015. A developer toppled the dorms, selling the building for almost double the purchase price.

During the pandemic, enrollments have plummeted and about 30 percent of U.S. universities are in deficit.

“It’s absolutely a perfect storm,” said Michael Jerbich, president of B. Riley Real Estate Solutions. “The only thing they can do is turn to real estate or other durable goods.”



In quarantine, sixth graders at Aspen Country Day School worked together to create a journal. They wrote tips on how to be productive in quarantine, offered testimonials from weeks at home, and gave tips on how to draw a bird.

Theo, 11, told readers to “start by lightly sketching a simple shape like this”.

CoCo, also 11, offered some advice. “You should never give up because no matter how dark the sky is, there is always a little bit of sun that will eventually invade the entire sky. You just have to keep walking on the rocky road.

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