I am one of the millions of parents who have struggled with this pandemic and their essential jobs. I took the federal covid leave until that ran out and then used up my annual and sick leave to stay home with my kids. I am a foster and adoptive parent, and I work in the public service sector. My kids mean the world to me. I am high risk for developing severe complications if I contract Covid-19. I have been staying home and staying safe as much as possible since March. Monday is my first day back to work at my public customer serving federal job. My husband and I both work the same job at the same place with a normal schedule being Monday – Saturday all day. Our jobs cannot be done remotely, they can only be done on site.
We are sending our son to virtual Kindergarten through the public school district. Our employer does not want to work out some kind of flip flop coverage between myself and my husband in order to maintain parental presence and oversight for schooling this year. I understand from a management perspective the difficulties of scheduling during this pandemic. I understand the school district trying to maintain a stronghold on student and teacher accountability and scheduling. No one is thinking about the other, everyone is scrambling around with zero business nor governmental leadership. The federal government says open everything up. Meanwhile, many parents are faced with horrible decisions. Send kids to physical school and risk the children getting Covid and the lifelong inflammatory disease, living with horrible lifelong health problems from contracting it or death. The children come home and give it to parents, siblings and grandparents. Or keep them out of school, risk their social and mental health and lose your job at a time when social safety nets are slim and being attacked by politicians daily.
We need to re-imagine our societal structure and gate keeping. We need to rethink how school can be accomplished. We need to do some self reflection on how much our country really values its citizens and families.
- We need to stop thinking that on site work is the only work.
- We need to stop thinking that a citizen has no value unless they work themselves to death 24/7.
- We need to stop corporations from stealing our time and wages, by forcing you to answer emails at home or answer texts and phone calls before or after work hours.
- Being held to a standard that keeps you constantly running the capitalist treadmill leads to most of the top health problems in this country.
- We need to demand more flexible schedules and more remote work for union level wages and benefits. Not Flex -Time / gig/ freelancer/ with no benefits and low end wages.
- There is no bible that says you are not worth breathing unless your work week is 40 hours long with 5 days of vacation per year. Americans work more than any other first world country. Time to work smarter not longer. Demand shorter week with more paid parenting time, sick leave, and vacation time.
- We need to realize and accept there are some people who are not going to be able to contribute to society in a financial way.
- We need to demand a $2000.00 / month Federal Minimum Income for everyone in this country. If we had this we would have more innovation and more small businesses.
- We need to demand free healthcare for everyone and get rid of employer health care plans and limit the reach of the health insurance industry and the Pharmaceutical industry from crafting the legislation this time.
- We need to re-imagine our educational system. I have been to college, we learn all of our lives. The key is planting the love of learning. Education does not equal sitting in a desk facing front in a square building for 16+ years. Education does not mean standard tests. We have lost a great asset we used to boast about and that is the creation of innovative and creative thinkers.
- Public school as we know it provides daily day care so workers can work. It provides education for children whose parents lives are run by the companies they work for. Schools indoctrinate children to be good workers, good citizens who follow the rules but can’t think outside the box. Public schools also provide oversight of parents to make sure they are not abusing their children. We expect teachers to be low paid caregivers, teachers, secretaries, social workers, policy changers, policeman, mental health specialists, special needs specialists and the meritocracy testing center. Just like the police are asked to do too much so are teachers.
Let us use this pandemic to imagine a new way of being that includes caring for your neighbor and community. Please comment and leave your thoughts below. How do you think we could re-imagine our society? Our workplaces? Our schools?