Report: SD Has Fewest Stay-at-Home Parents During Crisis
Wednesday, August 19, 2020
PIERRE, S.D. -- South Dakota tops the nation for households without "stay-at-home" parents during the pandemic, according to a new online report.
The rankings, based on census data, were compiled for the website Smartest Dollar, about families with kids younger than age 14. It suggested that nearly 53% of South Dakota households are headed by parents unable to work from home. Most South Dakota schools will have in-person learning this fall, but could be forced to close if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs.
Janet Herzog, director of the Midwest Child Care Association, said the crisis is affecting her industry and leaving these parents in a bind.
"Because there's so many people that are staying at home due to the pandemic," she said, "they're keeping their kids home, and the child-care centers are not being -- they can't stay open."
She said it's an even bigger problem for low-income parents who count on schools being in session so they can go to work without worrying about care expenses. More findings from the Pew Research Center show that stay-at-home moms and dads account for about one-fifth of U-S parents, meaning the other 80% are employed, either full or part-time.
Not only could this situation create problems for students needing help with distance learning, Herzog said, it adds more stress for parents trying to manage their jobs.
"We're going to start seeing the productivity go down here pretty soon in the workplace, too," she said, "because it's a hard juggling act for those parents to do all of this at the same time."
She said there's concern that children in low-income households where parents have to be at work might lack access to nutritious foods. She strongly encourages those families to work with school food service and other programs to ensure that healthy meals get to their children.
The report is online at smartestdollar.com.
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