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Parents, children struggle as virus lockdown drags on

By EARLE GALE in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-07-30 05:06

Parents and children arrive at Watlington Primary School as some schools re-open, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Watlington, Britain, June 1, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

A staggering 25 percent of working parents are considering giving up their jobs, or cutting down their hours, so they can better look after their offspring during the novel coronavirus lockdown, according to a new study.

Researchers from Trinity McQueen market research company commissioned by the United Kingdom law firm Simpson Millar found 69 percent of working parents in the UK have struggled to balance their working lives with the demands of children who are spending long hours at home and who often need home schooling.

Many parents said they could not find alternative childcare arrangements during the government-mandated lockdown aimed at restricting people-to-people contact and limiting the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

Simpson Millar, lawyers specializing in education issues, said the findings show a feared second wave of infections and a return to a full lockdown could have a disastrous effect on families that are already struggling to cope, according to the Press Association.

Imogen Jolley, head of education law at Simpson Millar, said: "Many families have struggled with the challenges presented by the pandemic and the reality of home schooling while trying to work."

She said a second wave and return to a full lockdown "would clearly have a devastating impact on the mental wellbeing of these families, let alone the educational wellbeing of the children".

Jolley said many parents feel alone because they have had little support from schools. The survey found 18 percent of parents with children of secondary school age and 15 percent of parents of children of primary school age felt their children's schools should have done more to help.

The government ordered schools to close in March as part of the virus lockdown for all but the offspring of so-called key workers. Since then, some children have been allowed to return to class and all students are scheduled to return in September, after the summer vacation.

Around 45 percent of the 1,001 parents who took part in the survey told researchers their mental health had been impacted by having their children at home for such a prolonged period.

Of those parents, 871 held down jobs. A quarter of working parents said childcare issues had led them to consider giving up work or reducing their hours

and around one-fifth said they did

not hold out hope that their employer would help with childcare


The researchers also found two parents in every five had noticed their child's mood had been negatively affected by the lockdown.

"This raises concerns that there will be an increase in behavioral issues as a result of increased anxiety once children do return to school," they wrote.

Many parents also said their children had taken less exercise and eaten less healthily because of the lockdown, raising concerns that there will be a rise in "obesity issues" as a result.

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