Schooling, stress, and resilience in the Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic abruptly halted in-person schooling and sent parents scrambling to manage their children’s education from home. In this report, we use immersive interviews from the American Voices Project to hear directly from families who had to cope with the uncertainties of the new era. These interviews reinforce—and extend—existing survey-based findings on pandemic schooling.

Key findings:

  • Schooling during the pandemic exacerbated many of the pre-pandemic disparities in the U.S. educational system. School shutdowns imposed particular trauma and stress on families of color, low-income families, and high-need students.
  • Schooling during the pandemic was stress-inducing. Parents described online learning as a frustrating experience, fretted about the quality of remote school, and worried about the emotional impact on their children.
  • Schooling during the pandemic was fraught with hard decisions. At the start of the 2020 school year, some parents had a choice of whether to send their children to school in person. They often felt torn between safety concerns and the knowledge that their children clearly wanted to go back.
  • Schooling during the pandemic was burdensome. Having kids at home created an immense burden for mothers, both those in and out of the workforce. Mothers interviewed reported intensive involvement in their kids' schooling during the pandemic.


Reference Information

Publication Date: 
October, 2021