When Homewood resident Allison McLeod heard the news of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf closing all K-12 schools in the state, she instantly felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the change in schedules, I had to scatter my son around from family member to family member, all while ensuring he stayed up to date with his studies,” she told the New Pittsburgh Courier in an exclusive interview.
As many Pennsylvanians scrambled to purchase groceries and toiletries, McLeod and other working mothers had an additional layer—finding childcare and balancing work with children.
With schools closed, McLeod now has to put even more food on the table for her son, Christopher. Additionally, as a behavioral specialist for two companies and founder of Building Bridges Parent Support Group, her work requires her to travel to three different counties. With all of the traveling for work, her biggest fear is, “becoming sick and bringing anything home that can compromise my son’s health.”
Health plays a big factor for mother of two, Willesha Miller. The Garfield resident, who works at a local hospital, is concerned about her son’s health, as he has previously suffered from pneumonia three times. Those who have had or currently have pre-existing health conditions are more susceptible to harsher complications from COVID-19, or novel coronavirus.
“The biggest inconvenience so far is trying to keep my kids occupied and food in the house,” Miller told the Courier. “It’s getting so expensive having to constantly buy food since they are home all day, seven days a week. I am honestly getting to the point of having anxiety if schools are closed longer.”
Jena Cox, of the North Side, also has two children, and they may each miss an educational milestone this school year. Her son, Jaoir, 10, is looking forward to his promotion to the fifth grade. And Cox’s daughter, Jaiden, 4, is looking forward to her promotion to kindergarten. “It would be very unfortunate if they don’t get to experience and celebrate their accomplishments with their peers and family,” Cox said.
Read more at the New Pittsburgh Courier, Some Pittsburgh Black mothers reliant on ‘huge support system’ – Family and friends helping with childcare, groceries and a positive outlook