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Coronavirus (COVID-19): Back-to-School Challenges

Author: Celia J. Collins

Employers scrambled to respond when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic erupted earlier this year, abruptly closing schools, child care facilities and workplaces. Fast forward to late summer and many school systems have announced that they will operate solely on a virtual basis or provide students the choice of virtual or in-person learning, or a hybrid of the two. Meanwhile, stay-at-home orders have eased and employers that have returned to pre-COVID operations require an adequate workforce and are struggling to manage the situation.

Other than the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) obligations or state and local paid leave laws, in most jurisdictions there is no legal obligation to accommodate parents who cannot perform their job because of child care responsibilities. Nevertheless, parents account for a large portion of the workforce and employers rely on parents. Flexibility is essential.