CHICAGO (CBS) — Virtual school round two; class starts in a little over a week for Chicago Public Schools, and there’s no denying remote learning has its own set of challenges.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Lauren Victory highlights the struggles when both mom and child are students.
Imaginative little Thora is 10 years old. When she was younger, her mom made quite the creation. The idea blossomed into breastfeeding apparel company Leche Libre.
“’You should sew these! I would buy one!’ I thought, well I’m a stay-at-home mom, I could do this,” said University of Illinois at Chicago student Andrea Newberry.
Last year, with Thora and her brother well into grammar school, another lightbulb turned on for Newberry.
“This is a good time for me to be able to go back to grad school,” she said. “Some of the ethical conundrums of the fashion industry, really, I was having a difficult time with that, and I realized I wanted to follow my passions.”
So Newberry enrolled at UIC to get her master’s degree in social work.
“Two thirds into my first year, kind of got whammied with COVID-19. The whole world got whammied,” she said.
Her classes went virtual. So did her kids’.
“It was a bit of a struggle,” she said.
It’s about to start all over again.
“This year’s all about just getting – just passing. And we’re going to really prioritize our mental health,” Newberry said.
That’s still complicated for mom, because of the situation at her school. Newberry needs to complete what’s called a field placement to graduate. It’s typically an in-person internship.
“I don’t feel confident that my kids could learn independently without some adult supervision,” she said.
Working remotely wasn’t possible at Newberry’s UIC-approved site. That left her and other students scrambling for backups and weeks of stress. On the table: delaying her next dream. Should she take an academic leave?
“At the end of the day, I’m a mom. I want to do what’s best for me. I want to do what’s best for my career, but … I have to put my children first,” she said.
Newberry hopes to work with UIC to advocate for students on the national level.
Her suggestion: work with the Council on Social Work Education to make changes to field placement requirements.
Some good news this morning: the mom of two is in the process of finalizing a fully remote internship.