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New Learning Method a Strain for Single-Parent Families

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Classes are underway in many Connecticut school districts using a combination of in-person and remote learning, or complete remote learning.  

It raised the question of how this will impact single-parent families.

Katie Carucci of West Hartford has been working in a beauty salon to help make ends meet.  It has not been easy.  She’s a single parent.

“We get through it.  You have people to help you and schools helps and sports keeps them busy,” Carucci said.

Parents of school-age children have had tough choices to make this fall when it comes to their kids’ education.  Very few schools have offered five day per week instruction in the COVID era.

It got the team at the Connecticut Data Collaborative wondering just how many families in Connecticut are “single family."

“The education system was, basically serving as day care...with that system changing as a result of the pandemic, it’s going to present new challenges for the labor force”, said Michelle Riordan-Nold, executive director of the Connecticut Data Collaborative.

What Riordan-Nold found out was interesting, and perhaps surprising, especially in Hartford and New Haven.

“…over 50% are single-parent families.  Bridgeport and Waterbury are slightly under 50%”, Riordan-Nold said. That’s double the statewide average.

Factoring in that at some point schools may have to go all remote because of COVID, this could become a concern, especially when the data says roughly three-quarters of the people heading these single-parent households are working.

“So what does that mean for employers and can employers be flexible?  Some jobs just don’t lend themselves to being flexible.  Particularly health care, education,” Riordan-Nold added.

Carucci said she’ll be OK if her kids’ schools switch to all remote learning but knows that’s not the case for everyone. 

“I really feel bad for elementary school parents whose little kids can’t stay home alone, and they have to find a whole new form of child care, or have to stay home from work and miss out on work,” Carucci said.

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