Single, working parents speak out on distance learning

Across the nation, many working parents are turning to co-ops, help from relatives or altering their work schedules to find the best learning environment for their children.

Posted: Aug 29, 2020 7:21 PM
Updated: Aug 31, 2020 1:55 PM

LANE COUNTY-- With back to school right around the corner, most students will begin the year learning from home. But what does this mean for parents working full time who are now faced with some big decisions to make?

According to the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, one of every six Oregonians are parents who cannot work from home.

Springfield resident Shayla Landeros is a single mother of three children.

“As of right now, I'm going to have to try to hire somebody to help out,” Landeros said. “I do have a sister who needs some extra money and that's kind of the direction I'm having to go, but it's not something I couldn't really afford. It's going to be a hardship, no matter what.”

Landeros said that the quick switch to distance learning in the spring was far from easy, and one of her children has a behavioral problem requiring some extra attention during the school day.

“I didn’t have the ability to hover over her shoulder, and she was almost immediately abusing that access,” Landeros said.

RELATED: CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS FACE CHALLENGES IN DISTANCE LEARNING

Her hope is that more resources will be made available to families in challenging situations.

“Their education is one of the most important things we will ever have for our youth,” Landeros said. “I think we need to put a lot more attention on how we're going to make sure that everybody has access to that.”

With 2.1 million people in the Oregon workforce, there are 36 percent who are able to work from home.

There are 350,000 working parents who are in a bind, as 17 percent fall into one specific category: having children, the parent cannot work from home and there are no other non-working adults present.

As services, such as daycares and afterschool programs are limited, the balance of a parent’s own work plus helping their children stay on track is difficult to navigate.

Eugene resident Kathleen Eubank is a single mother of five children who are in three different schools.

“I’m only one person, and they are five humans,” Eubank said. “I'm keeping my head above water as best I can but to be honest with you, I feel like I'm drowning.”

Eubank, who is not comfortable putting her children back into the classroom setting, said many families are feeling lost, scared and unsure of what is to come.

“They need support,” Eubank said. “They need to know that what is being encouraged and happening right now is being supported by people that know what they're doing who are going to get them through it and there needs to be more of it. There needs to be more of a backbone in the structure of what's going on and more help to learn, because this is new for everybody.”

Across the nation, many working parents are turning to co-ops, help from relatives or altering their work schedules to find the best learning environment for their children.

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