While there are COVID-related health reasons in play for any parent mulling a child returning to school this fall, finances are a big issue, too.
Make no mistake, family finances are tied directly to family healthcare – ask any parent who doesn’t have enough cash how he or she is faring with household health care issues. In short, the response likely won’t be pretty.
That’s why a new study from Bankrate may resonate with American parents with school-age children. Keeping children at home, it seems, would lead to negative outcomes on the family budget and on a child’s education experience.
According to the study, more than 3 in 5 (61%) parents with school-aged children say remote learning due to the COVID-19 outbreak during the 2020-21 school year would negatively impact their finances.
Additionally, 42% of parents say remote learning would be detrimental to their children’s education.
Overall, 30% of parents would incur additional miscellaneous expenses (technology, tutoring, meals, etc.), 23% believe their career opportunities would be limited by balancing work and childcare, 22% would have to cut back on their work hours, 16% would have to pay for additional childcare and 15% would have to stop working entirely.
Here’s more from the Bankrate study:
--- Parents with kids between the ages of 5-10 would be hit the hardest, with two-thirds of these parents (67%) saying they anticipate negative financial impacts with remote learning. Additionally, millennial parents (ages 24-39) also foresee more of a strain on their wallets (73%) vs. 49% of Gen-Xers (ages 40-55).
--- Northeastern parents are the most likely to be negatively impacted (64%) versus 61% in the West and 59% in the Midwest and South. Politically speaking, Republican parents (65%) are also more likely to foresee negative impacts versus Democrats (57%) and Independents (59%).
--- In addition to the 42% who believe remote learning would negatively impact their children’s education, nearly one-third (34%) believe remote learning would have a positive impact and a quarter (25%) are neutral.
“These findings suggest the economic recovery will continue to be slow,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst at Bankrate.com. "Most students will be learning remotely this fall, and that alone will strain more than half of their parents’ household budgets.”
Added to the mix is the fact that the U.S. has seen a record string of initial jobless claims – over one million every week since March. “As long as the virus continues to spread widely, it’s hard to envision a full economic recovery, whether we’re talking education, employment, travel, or anything else,” Rossman said.
That outlook runs counter to the mainstream media, which touts poll after poll suggesting parents want to keep their kids out of schools this autumn. Add the family finances to the equation, however, and that dynamic changes quickly with so any Main Street Americans struggling their family finances.