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What happens to working parents if the schools have to close?

72 replies

SeaGale · 12/03/2020 15:20

What exactly are people meant to do? No childcare provisions, possibly can't WFH effectively with younger children around. I know there isn't a one stop solution but how are people going to manage?

(I'm lucky that my two are teenagers and although I do WFH, I don't actually NEED to. )

OP posts:
happypotamus · 12/03/2020 16:50

I am a nurse. My manager asked us this morning if we have contingency plans for if the schools/ childcare shut and if public transport closes down. My DH works for a university, so we assume that will also close if the schools do, so he will be expected to work from home while looking after DC. It appears that if public transport shuts down, he is also expected to transport me to and from work as I can't drive. Obviously work starts at antisocial times of day and I never leave on time, so he would sitting round for a long time late at night with DC who should be in bed at that time. I don't really know how/ when he will be able to do any work from home, and I suspect that I will be expected to work a lot more than my usual hours to cover the increased workload, the staff who are off ill or self-isolating because they are a contact and those who have no back-up childcare.

JudasHisCarrot · 12/03/2020 17:01

I'm a single mum and self-employed. No possibility to wfh as I go out to clients so God knows what I'll do if their school closes

SaintEyning · 12/03/2020 17:08

Single mum working on a LT supply contract in a primary school. Quite glad that schools are not closing early TBH as no idea if we will be paid if the school is closed. SSP would not apply in this case as I would not be ill - technically “not required to work” which happens to supply teachers and TAs our with LT contracts. Couldn’t pay my mortgage if I didn’t work 39 weeks. Just squeak by as it is.

SaintEyning · 12/03/2020 17:08


multiplemum3 · 12/03/2020 17:10

I work for the NHS and have no fucking clue what my plan is. Most of us are in the same position, there's talk of opening a creche at work but am I fuck bringing my children there.

tinytemper66 · 12/03/2020 17:12

Schools are not closing.

BuggerOffAndGoodDayToYou · 12/03/2020 17:14

Fortunately I only have DS left at home and he manages just fine without me. Even if my school closes to pupils I will be expected to go in.

GenderApostate19 · 12/03/2020 17:22

DD is a teacher, a Head of Dept, they’ve had a meeting today, big Academy chain - the consensus seems to be that they want to hang on then close two weeks early for Easter.
They really, really don’t want to have to close schools but they are getting laptops set up tomorrow to enable teaching from home for year 11s about to take exams.
Most teachers are of the opinion that closing won’t help at all as kids will be all over the place.

Isthistrueor · 12/03/2020 17:41

My DH can work from home but I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that. So over dramatic.

anothernotherone · 12/03/2020 17:47

I live in Bavaria - the primary school 1km from my work is closed with a confirmed case, and a grammar school in our administrative area is completely closed - over 1000 children. A long list of schools in the nearest city are closed.

If my older children's secondary school closed they'd be home alone (they're good kids if a bit lazy). If our youngest's primary school closed and the older ones were off too they'd look after him (he's 9 and also a good kid).

However if just the primary closed the youngest couldn't be home alone every day. He'd be alone for 6.5 hours (from when the teens leave until they get back) but adultless for even longer - ten hours some days. Obviously that's too long.

I work shifts in a health/ social work role so sometimes I'm home but other times I'm at work for 20 hour blocks (6 hours of which we are on-call but have to stay on site and can sleep if no emergencies).

DH works in an office job and his actual employer is encouraging home working but he's on long term loan to a company with major security in place who don't allow anyone to log in remotely. He could do a small amount from home - the odd day - but not every day.

My boss did ask if I knew what I'd do - I'm the only one with young (non adult) children full time - there's also a dad who has his son eow. Grandparents on the team also said they'd want time off to look after their grandchildren though, so their children can work. This smarts a bit as we have no wider family support since MIL died suddenly three years ago. MIL would have been there for us, with FIL alongside. However FIL lost all interest in the children once they'd helped him over the initial phase of grief and started dating again, is usually uncontactable and certainly not a source of childcare. So it smarts a bit that when my boss asked me if I had options the grandparents fell over themselves to assert a claim to any allowance that might be available to me, so they could do their adult children's childcare.

We will still have to work in hazmat suits and quarantine protocol even if we have confirmed cases on the team or among the residents. We already have the energy packs and protocol from our employer. It's not a facility which can be shut down under any circumstances.

ClaraMumsnet · 12/03/2020 17:48

Hi OP, we've moved this to the Coronavirus topic.

EggysMom · 12/03/2020 17:52

If DS gets sent home from his SEN school, I won't be able to WFH. I have the option, I have the appropriate tools, I'm happy to WFH when DH is at school. What I don't have is somewhere to shut myself away from DS, and his SLD means I have no means of explaining to him that Mummy is trying to work and cannot come and play with him.

EggysMom · 12/03/2020 17:52

*when DS is at school, I mean.

anothernotherone · 12/03/2020 17:53

Emergency not energy packs! They contain hazmat style suits, specific cleaning and sanitation products aimed at viruses, shoe covers, high grade face masks, single use cutlery and crockery and cups, hazardous waste disposal bags etc - they're issued for MRSA and Norovirus too. We already have ordinary surgical gloves and sanitiser etc etc.

madcatladyforever · 12/03/2020 17:54

I'm lucky that I'm a SAHP but I'm worrying about the cost of having 4 children at home for so long! Mine get free school meals and seem to eat like locusts when at home which costs me so much money each week. Not to mention all of the ridiculous panic buying going on which has left me struggling to find my regular weekly shop, let alone any to buy extra of if the kids are off school.

Sorry but I was too poor to allow this when I was a single working mum. They got three average meals a day with no between meal snacks, no extra cereal, no toast between meals no second helpings nothing and had to lump it. DS in particular did not have my permission to go into the kitchen and help himself. What do you think happened during the war? Food was rationed and people were healthier for it.
I would make cheap puddings and homemade flapjacks are very cheap and can be eaten in an emergency.
Children sometimes have to learn they can't eat anything they want when they are at home.
We would have gone right under if I'd allowed that.

Doyoumind · 12/03/2020 17:55

The government says that at this stage closing schools would only have a minimal impact and it is more important for people who are vulnerable or have symptoms to keep away from others.

madcatladyforever · 12/03/2020 17:57

NHS here too, dual qualified. i have a horrible feeling I am about to be abused as I have no children left at home and live alone so will be doing wards and my main job, very long hours and covering for just about everyone.
Mind you this could be the basis for a stonking promotion - if I don't die first Hmm

JuanSheetIsPlenty · 12/03/2020 18:30

So it smarts a bit that when my boss asked me if I had options the grandparents fell over themselves to assert a claim to any allowance that might be available to me, so they could do their adult children's childcare.

This would annoy me too. If there were to be any allowances made it should be to those with dependants. Grandchildren with two or even one parent in their own house aren’t dependants.

MushroomTree · 12/03/2020 18:39

That would annoy me. And I say that as a single parent with only one grandparent for support. If he could help it would be great, but I certainly wouldn't expect his employer to give him priority time off over parents with children at home.

ThanksForAllTheFish · 12/03/2020 19:22

With the way my and DH’s shifts work out I would have to take DD (10) to work with me 1 or 2 days a week. It would be doable and my boss wouldn’t mind. She would most likely spend most of her day on the iPad which wouldn’t be ideal but not sure what else we could really do. I don’t work 9-5 hours anyway and most days I’m finished around 1:30/2:00 so she would cope. If the school sets work online then she would basically just sit in the corner doing her school work.
The rest of the week DH works the late shift so he would be home. It’s just the 1/2 days we are both working early. His work place isn’t suitable to take her too so it really would be best for her to come to work with me. I’ve had her in the odd time in the past and it’s been fine. My boss has already said it would be ok and it’s better that than me needing to stay off for childcare.

10storeylovesong · 12/03/2020 19:52

Front line police and NHS here. Our only childcare apart from school / nursery is a relative who is also a full time carer to an elderly relative with COPD so couldn't ask her. No idea what we're going to do.

A man who works with my dad has been sent home today with symptoms having recently travelled back from Italy. My relative is supposed to be caring for my 2 year old tomorrow while we both work. I don't know what to do. I can't in good conscience send my son to them but there's nowhere else for him to go and neither of our work class this as close enough link to warrant dependents leave.

BigFatLiar · 12/03/2020 20:13

Grandparents could be tricky. Remember they say that the effects are more severe as you get older so if the GP's are elderly you may be increasing the risk to them if you ask them to look after the kids.

anothernotherone · 13/03/2020 06:25

Just sentbthe kids off to school (it's 7:25 where I am and school starts earlier) and read an email from the secondary announcing that a decision about closing all schools in the county until after Easter is being made in an hour and a half...

SimonJT · 13/03/2020 06:33

I can take my son to work, there are only three other people in my office and he’s generally well behaved. I can also work from home fairly easily. I have a few friends who can’t really work at the moment (musicians, singers etc) so I could ask them to do the odd day of childcare.

Love2cycle · 14/03/2020 17:04

My employers have thought ahead abd put a few things in place. One is we can take paid time off now and then make the time up but we have 2 years to do it. We can also use our annual leave, but we can borrow it from next year's leave if we still need to to cover school hols this year. We can come in and work weekends. They are also asking people who don't have care responsibilities to do extra, but then they would get those days back to use when things have calmed down, or just get overtime. Normally that last one would go down like a lead balloon, but people seem happy to do it. Quite impressed they've thought ahead actually.

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