Tuesday , September 28 2021

US workforce revival questionable as Delta raises concerns about ‘back to school’



WASHINGTON, August 2 (Reuters) – In April, almost a year after she was fired from her hospitality firm due to the pandemic, Sara Gard has barely stood up at a new full-time job in financial services. He manages his daughter’s distance education.

So, when her six-year-old daughter’s school, just north of Atlanta, Georgia, gave parents the option to choose in-person classes for their children that month, when the new school year began in August, Gard signed up and felt good about it. his decision.

Until the recent increase in cases caused by the highly contagious Delta variant of COVID-19. Masks in the school district are highly recommended but not mandatory and her daughter is too young to be vaccinated. Gard now spends sleepless nights as he reconsiders.

If he decides to put his child back in virtual education – which still exists – he will have to give something up. Her husband’s job is at a hospital, and Gard’s employer, which he started last November, wants him to spend more days at the office. “It’s not sustainable for myself or my husband,” said Gard, 40. “Stress is killing me.”

Prospects for the acceleration of the US economic recovery are largely due to more workers in jobs when face-to-face training resumes this fall. However, if parents, especially women, are sidelined or forced to stay on the sidelines, the Delta variant can frustrate those expectations.

“You can imagine school districts deciding to wait a month or two for the Delta wave to subside. I’m not saying that will happen, but it’s easy to imagine it. It’s easy to imagine that some people would say I’m just going. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday before returning to work. “If schools don’t open, caregivers have to stay home, and if people don’t return to the workforce, job growth won’t be as strong.”

HERE WE GO AGAIN?

Despite record numbers of job postings, nearly 7 million fewer people are employed in the United States today than before the pandemic, according to surveys of businesses and households by the Department of Labor.

The employment recovery has been particularly lumpy for women, who had a greater share of job losses early in the pandemic. Many had been back in the workforce by the summer, but in August and September last year, more than 1 million women aged 20 and over left the workforce, many as schools reopened to online-only education and children parked in their homes.

This year, women have re-entered the workforce in greater numbers than men, with the increase in face-to-face education as the school year progresses and the reopening of a number of industries in which they are overrepresented.

Now, renewed uncertainty about attending school risks dampening that momentum.

Protections are changing drastically as school districts prepare to reopen. According to data compiled by monitoring website Burbio, California is among eight states that require all or nearly all children to wear masks in schools, as are many major cities including Boston and Chicago. In Texas and seven other states, which make up 25% of school-aged children, schools are not allowed to request masks. read more

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 40% of 16-17 year olds and 28% of 12-15 year olds have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Children aged 5-11 are not expected to be eligible until late fall at the earliest and until under five some time thereafter. read more

Pediatric “As we enter next school year, it’s definitely a concern that we have this more contagious variant, and this is a group of people who are not yet eligible for the vaccine,” said Sean O’Leary. He is an infectious disease specialist at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus and vice chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Infectious Diseases.

While last year’s evidence suggested that schools could safely reopen without an increase in cases, the Delta variant appears to be spreading more easily among children.

“It’s going to be very devastating,” said Daniel Domenech, president of the American Association of School Administrators.

Take the City of San Bernardino Unified School District, which has 47,000 students among 10% of the US school-age population returning to classrooms this week. California needs masks and the region is taking extra precautions like new air filter systems.

If a student gets COVID-19, that student is isolated at home; if three people of the same class get off with him, the whole class is sent home for 10 days; and if 5% of the school gets it, the campus will close according to the school’s back-to-campus roadmap.

“I have a lot of confidence in what we’re doing,” said Rachel Monarrez, assistant district manager. Still, he says of Delta’s fluctuation, “I’m watching… and I’ll advise the auditor if we need to take a stronger approach when monitoring the data.”

‘CLOCK CLICK’

The spike in unpredictability in the coming months is likely causing some women to reconsider their business plans, according to Claudia Sahm, a senior fellow at the Jain Family Institute and a former Federal Reserve economist.

“People can’t always wait to see where it’s going to decide,” says Sahm. “More and more of my friends are telling me, ‘I’ll wait, I’ll stay part time because their kids are under 12.'” aforementioned.

“The clock is ticking here. We are very close to the start of the school year, often very close to a big job search season. It is really worrying to see this side of things, but it is not surprising. the virus is not under control, it is under control.”

Gabriela Villagomez-Morales, 37, is a single mother with four children aged 18, 17, 10, and 8 in Tacoma, Washington. She lost her job at a childcare center when it closed due to the pandemic and struggled to find new jobs while helping her children to school remotely. She has recently found another job at home nursery, but is very worried about the predictability of school staying open in the coming months.

“If anything, what would my solutions be? It’s really hard for me,” he said.

reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir and Ann Saphir; Editing by Dan Burns and Andrea Ricci

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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