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Related: Lockdown Learning, discuss home schooling during lockdown.

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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:

JuanSheetIsPlenty · 14/03/2020 20:30

One is we can take paid time off now and then make the time up but we have 2 years to do it.

That’s a really good idea!

Your company sounds really on the ball.


Ellapaella · 14/03/2020 20:38

@10storeylovesong my husband and I are both NHS, he's a doctor and I'm a nurse (Hospital). I'm worrying about this scenario so much - our hospital have suggested we could take it turns to come to work which seems like the best idea. So maybe I do two days, he does three. But no idea if we will be paid for the days we aren't here - I presume not. Have you got anything planned? I'm wondering if I can take paid leave and make the time up later in the year seeing as I'm only part time this should be easy to do.


thunderthighsohwoe · 14/03/2020 20:45

Current plan with a very active 15mo is to put her favourite CBeebies show at random intervals during the day to quickly mark work submitted online and reply to parent/staff emails (am a primary teacher).

Actual working from home will happen between 6.30pm and 1am when she’s in bed - our headteacher has said that we will be expected to do our 6-7 hours directed time a day as a bare minimum, though luckily hasn’t specified that it must be done during school hours.

Getting up at 5am with said toddler will be fun though...


10storeylovesong · 14/03/2020 20:59

@Ellapaella it's such a worry, isn't it?! We've both submitted emergency flexi plans for the next month which have thankfully been approved. We're working long days to get our hours in, so less days to work, and have managed to fit our shifts around each other. It's not been easy to fit in - I'm working 72 hours this week so give me flexibility next week. Hopefully it won't have to go on too long but I've got a nasty feeling it will. Fingers crossed you managed to get something sorted soon.


BigChocFrenzy · 14/03/2020 21:01

In my state in Germany, schools have to provide childcare for people in a long list of essential jobs

No state provision for nonessential, of course


JuanSheetIsPlenty · 14/03/2020 21:10

How does that work though bigchoc when the point of shutting schools is to keep children apart to prevent spread. How can they then bring them all back together just under a different name? In ROI they have shut all schools, colleges, and childcare settings.


Doyoumind · 14/03/2020 21:18

I'm not in NI but I've just read that they are potentially going to close schools there for 16 weeks. Then it would be the summer holidays. That means from now until September with no school. How could any family and especially lone parent families cope with that financially?


JuanSheetIsPlenty · 14/03/2020 21:19

Where did you see that doyou? I’m in NI.


Doyoumind · 14/03/2020 21:20


spacepoppers · 14/03/2020 21:22

As a nurse I'm expected at work. I get that. If my toddlers nursery closes, then how do they expect me to cover my childcare? I have two older ones that can fend for themselves, but seriously...who is going to care for my little one whilst I'm on the frontline?


JuanSheetIsPlenty · 14/03/2020 21:29

Thanks doyou. That’s a scary prospect. Presumably the situation would be the same across the rest of the U.K. too though?


OneFootintheRave · 14/03/2020 21:32

@itsallthedramaMickiloveit It would be a shame if that email got leaked to the press wouldn't it!


BMW6 · 14/03/2020 21:33

I wonder if people could volunteer to childmind children from a family near them?
For instance, I am retired (62) and we live near city hospital. There must be loads of NHS staff with school age children in my immediate vicinity.
Is it feasible that I could offer to childmind while parent at work for the duration of this crisis?
Obviosly I am not a qualified childminder nor DBS checked, but I have no criminal record and would be happy to be checked out by Police etc and obviously meet the parents.

I suppose I'm thinking of WW2, when my Mum was evacuated to the country. Parents had no idea where their children would be going or to whom, (seems extraordinary looking back) so this is not in the same ballpark.

What do you think?


Namelesswonder · 14/03/2020 21:34

In Scotland we have also been told by NS that once the schools close it will be for the rest of the academic year, so till August for us.


Ellapaella · 14/03/2020 23:00

@BMW6 I think that is a very generous thought but as a nurse I would be worried about you being exposed to my kids, my husband and I won't be asking grandparents for childcare help a they are all over 60, it's my understanding that this would be too risky for them, especially when their parents (us) are being exposed to the virus at work.
Such a difficult situation.


Ihatesundays · 14/03/2020 23:09

I know hardly anyone who can actually WFH beyond a day or two, so who knows! I imagine people who have computer only based jobs it’s easier, I know no one that applies to.
I work on contract, in schools, so that’s me earning zero money for rest of the year....


MeadowHay · 14/03/2020 23:27

My DD is a toddler. My current set up is 3 days in the office - for which she's in nursery two days and with my DM one day. Then I work one day from home whilst she's in nursery. My company is looking at the feasibility of more home working and if the government formally recommends this then they will extend homeworking. DH is an NHS clinician so I'm expecting him to end up working crazy long hours and not be seen for months tbh once it all kicks off.Sad if nursery closes I am not totally sure what we will do as it is totally impossible to work with DD. She doesn't even let me sit down for a minute. It would only be possible to work whilst she nape. Not sure if my employer would provide us some flexibility to do some of the work outside normal working hours like evenings when she's in bed. They haven't mentioned it so idk. I would be relying on DM to do most of the childcare if not, or I would have to take unpaid leave I suppose. DM is only in fifties and in good health but does have high blood pressure so not sure I could let them do the childcare with it being riskier for them to catch. But when DH, DB and DF all work in the NHS I feel like it's guaranteed DM will get it anyway.


pigoons · 14/03/2020 23:32

This is precisely why it isn't a great idea to close schools or childcare. I will attempt to work from home with DS but reality is i will get 3 hours in the morning and have to do the rest in the evening when DH comes home


Lucked · 14/03/2020 23:33

We are both hospital doctors we have one elderly relative who could step in - late 70s with hypertension. I am stressed out of my box.


CheshireSplat · 14/03/2020 23:44

I'm office based and can do most of my work by email if I have to (prefer phone but this is a global emergency). So I'll speak to my employer and hopefully agree to work 6am - 8am, then 3pm til 10pm. The DC 5&8 can watch a film each day from 3, then a bit of tv til DH gets home around 6pm. The UK economy is service based so there must be loads of people like me who can be flexible when necesary.

DH's job, however, involves hospital and home consultations with patients with compromised immune systems, so a couple of weeks of phone calls rather than visits would be okay, but months of no physical visits would prevent benefit applications etc. forms which need a physical signature.


middleager · 14/03/2020 23:45

Something needs to be sorted for children of frontline workers.

It's lovely that people volunteer but safeguarding/DBS must be adhered to, so I hope that the skeletal staff in schools/nurseries can be introduced.

Thank you to the school and NHS staff, the utilities staff, the carers and other core workers for being on the frontline. We all owe you a debt and I hope this Govt recognises that.


NichyNoo · 14/03/2020 23:47

This is why closing schools is such a bad idea. Yes, it may save the lives of a handful of people in their 80s but it will also mean that hundreds of thousands of working age, tax-paying parents will lose their jobs and need to sign on for Universal Credit. Utter madness.

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