It appears that many school systems will not be returning to full-time in-person instruction anytime soon. Families, both divorced and intact, are wrestling with the future of employment and the responsibilities associated with virtual education. It is especially hard on divorced or separated parents as there is no “other parent” to share responsibility.
Clearly, a second grader cannot be left at home to attend their virtual classroom while parents go off to work, some traveling long distances away. The obligation for at least one of the parents to address the situation is an enormous task.
It is not realistic to quit a job to assist in home-based virtual education. It is unrealistic to expect children of any age to ignore the obvious distractions in their homes, bedrooms or back yards and focus 100% on school if left unattended. Accordingly, the parent who has the children most of the time will shoulder the burden, and the responsibility is very impactful.
Primary residential parents have a difficult task ahead
Besides preventing a parent from concentrating on the employment tasks at hand, even with the best virtual education programs, there are still significant hands-on obligations for the parent/s at home.
If the parent cannot work from home, the situation can be catastrophic. They will be forced to choose between employment or staying at home with the virtual student.
Additional financial support a possible solution
We remain in an evolving situation that will impact primary residential parents in significant ways. Some might even be forced to petition the Court for additional financial support in the event they are unable to leave a child or multiple children home alone to attend job responsibilities. The best strategy is to open lines of communication with the other parent as soon as possible and try to agree on an effective plan to care for the children as well as the primary residential parent.
If no mutual agreement is reached, there are different options such as hiring a mediator to help find a resolution or consulting with a family law attorney.