By Soo Youn
7 October 2020
Jenai A. Rossow was working full time at a county clinic near Ithaca, N.Y., when shelter-in-place orders forced the first overhaul of her work life. The mother of two and social worker was able to use paid emergency leave as schools and day cares shut down.
Her workplace was great about it, she said. Her husband is an essential worker who never stopped going into the residential treatment facility where he works to teach independent living skills to children in the foster care system. The family gets health insurance through her husband’s job, but Rossow said she made “light-years” more money.
Throughout the summer, she waited to see what would happen with schools. In the meantime, she continued her leave of absence to care for her children, ages 3 and 7. Then the paid leave dried up and the family got word that come September, public schools would return with a hybrid learning model. That sealed the deal.
“We just couldn’t afford to put the 7-year-old in part-time care,” Rossow said.
She left her job completely.
And she’s not alone.
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