4 models of “Back to School” in California - What will back to work look like for working families under these scenarios?


California’s Department of Education proposed 4 possible scenarios to safely reopen schools in the age of face masks and physical distancing. But what is lacking in this article is any proposed solution for working parents on how to reconcile alternating schedules with work. 

Proposed models:

  • "Two day rotation blended learning model": For example, grades K-3 attend school Monday/Wednesday, while grades 4-6 attend on Tuesday/Thursday. All students do distance learning Friday.
  • "A/B week blended learning model": Half of students across all grades attend school Monday-Thursday one week, the other half the following week, and so forth. All students do distance learning on Friday.
  • "Looping structure": Younger students may stay with the same teacher for multiple grades and in a smaller cohort. For example, a small group of students will have the same teacher for 1st then 2nd grade.
  • "Early/late staggered schedules": Grade levels could have staggered start times, or an AM/PM rotation, to avoid congregating in common spaces.

You might say “that’s outside of the scope of the Department of Education. And you’re right. It is not their affair directly, however their decisions will impact families massively. The burden will be on the families to make it work. Working moms and dads will have to create a structure around these schedules. Will the burden be completely on them or is your company talking about how to make adjustments to make this work for the future?

Pre Pandemic, women already “dropped out” of their professional careers at a higher rate when having families. Two guiding factors seem to influence this trend: (1) lower wages for women, so if they have a male partner their respective income is higher and (2) The social expectation that a mom put her family first. Remember the article in Forbes by Renee Morad a few weeks ago discussing why women are hardest hit by the pandemic? Childcare or rather the missing childcare structure is a major factor.

Now, I want to challenge leaders to help attenuate these effects by introducing a more flexible work culture. Not only because Diversity and Inclusion has a direct effect on the bottomline. A 2019 study From McKinsey and Company found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability (a data set of over 1000 companies from 15 countries since 2014). But I challenge you to think about the leaders in these companies for a moment. I believe they don’t do this merely for money. They tap into their emotional intelligence. They recognize that leveraging diversity is key to more creative problem solving and becoming a leader in their field. They realize that they need YOU and will be open to finding solutions that work for both.

How does your company handle the uncertainty around child-care options/schools? What solutions are they offering so you can keep contributing to your company's mission & vision?

Help me research options and put together programs that support working parents through this by filling out this survey. I'm dedicated to finding new and creative solutions for a modern workplace post-pandemic. Book your free 30 min phone consultation on how Emotional Intelligence Training can help.


As always, I'd love to hear from you in the comments.