Blue Shield of California
COVID-19 Resource Center for Employers, Plan Sponsors, Brokers and Consultants

B2B General

May 07, 2021 - 4 min read

A slow return to in-person learning

An inconsistent return to the classroom has a significant impact on California’s workforce


Many working parents have been hit especially hard by juggling the demands of virtual work while overseeing their children’s remote education. Now, some California school districts are slowly welcoming students back to campus. While some districts are offering full-time in-person instruction, others offer a mix of in-person and remote learning. Still, there are districts that have not yet opened their doors for in-person school in any capacity, despite having the green light to do so.

On April 14, Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration declared that all California schools should reopen in the fall for the new academic year although there is no mandate  to do so. Some districts and teachers remain reluctant to welcome students back for full-time in-person learning. The prospect of vaccinations extending to school-aged children (12-15) could shift some of that reluctance.

What’s to come

Governor Newsom does not currently have any plans to require all schools across the state to re-open by next fall, but he is encouraging districts to offer in-person learning for all students. The State of California Safe Schools For All Hub offers robust resources for educators and parents including a status map of all school districts in the state.

Given that in-person learning is still up in the air in many school districts, employers can take some steps to support employees who continue to balance work with their responsibilities as parents.

  • Voice your concern for your employees’ wellbeing, along with the health and safety of their families.

  • Be flexible with work schedules if possible.  Even before the pandemic, for employees with school-aged children, juggling childcare with work was already a challenge. Give
    remote workers the freedom to be productive outside of a traditional 8-5 schedule.

  • Reevaluate your existing company policies on how employees can use their flex time or paid time off. If your budget allows for it, consider extending the amount of paid leave your business provides.

  • Connect your employees to childcare resources in their neighborhoods or explore the possibility of reducing their work hours.

  • If possible, consider establishing a job-share policy where two people work part-time to fulfill the duties of one role.

  • Think creatively about adding extra time to deadlines and scheduling meetings. For example, schedule recurring meetings later in the day when school-aged children are more likely to have completed their virtual classes.

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