Parents discuss changes they had to make this semester

Parents discuss changes they had to make this semester

Fernanda Camacho Hauser, Correspondent

STATESBORO — A lot of the focus of the back to campus experience has been on those who are college students stepping out into the world on their own for the first time, but what do those who have children to go back to when they leave campus have to say about their experiences returning to campus this semester?

The George-Anne sent out a questionnaire asking, “Are you a parent who is also a returning member of campus?” and these are the responses that the 44 individuals plus three interviewees yielded.

The breakdown of the 44 questionnaire responses was 43.2% Staff, 31.8% Faculty, and 25% Students.

Out of the responses, 86.4% answered that their children’s normal accommodations while they are on campus has had to change.

Professor Jennifer Sweeney Tookes explained how she and another professor have set up a schedule around their teaching schedules. This way, one of them is able to work and help teach their own and the other’s children on alternating days.

Here are some of the other changes people had to make:

“I have chosen all online classes this semester,” Jennifer Johnson, a student, said.

“The daycare where my children go has increased their prices recently, I have had to budget that and get a part-time job so that I can continue to go to school and pay for their care,” a student said.

“I am presently teleworking part-time,” a staff member said.

“I decided to homeschool, and delay nursing school for a semester,” a student said.

“We chose the virtual school option for our child,” a staff member said. “My husband and I take shifts each week teaching our child (who can’t read yet or manage a computer alone), all while we still both work full time. We do not have weekends anymore.”

“My husband and I have to work on alternate days so that one of us is at home with my 2 kids,” a faculty member said.

“I have had to pay for additional child care or I would have to stay home; in the beginning I was both working from home as well as teaching my oldest son,” a staff member said.

“My child is doing virtual pre-K because she has asthma, so I am teaching mostly from home, with a few hours on campus and my husband doing flex-time, which means that he has to go to work at 7am instead of 8am,” a faculty member said. “The only time I have to prepare my courses is during her nap, which has been very stressful. I find myself working nights and week-ends so my students do not suffer from my need to keep my child home.”

The remaining 13.6% said that their everyday accommodations such as school and childcare hadn’t changed. Here’s what some of them had to say:

“Not much. I pick him up after school, instead of having him go to extra curricular activities,” Daniel Chapman, an associate professor, said.

“None, my wife is a stay-at-home mother,” Thomas Buckhoff, an associate professor, said.

“Wear masks anytime you are travelling outside. Shower as soon as you get home. Use hand sanitizer before you eat out,” a student said.

When asked what they would change, if given the opportunity, about their current situation given the ongoing pandemic:

“Ideally, I would be able to work from home and take care of my kids without having to put them at greater risk,” Christopher Brown, an assistant professor, said. “However, above all, I consider myself very lucky to be gainfully employed through these times.”

“Not much we can do – we have been extremely careful since the pandemic started – staying at home, away from others, not going out at all except for work,” Steve Masterman-Smith, a staff member, said.

“Besides getting rid of COVID, somehow make it safe for the kids to go back to f2f [face to face] course format,” a staff member said. “My child has recently been diagnosed with ADHD & ADD. Courses online have made it near impossible for her to stay focused.”

“Being able to work from home so that she could not be completely alone most of the day and get help with her schoolwork as needed,” a staff member said.