Amanda Cosindas is gearing up to move across the country from Los Angeles to Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, with her 10-year-old son later this month. Uprooting her family is necessary for Cosindas, director of marketing and communication at the creative agency The Many, to be able to manage her job and her son’s education this year.

As a single mother, Cosindas juggled remote learning and work throughout the spring largely without outside help. Cosindas decided to make a move not only to be closer to family for childcare help but to be within a school district that will use a hybrid in-person and virtual learning set up this fall (Los Angeles will continue remote learning this fall).

“It’s just not possible to maintain a full time job and have a child home 24/7 homeschooling and on Zoom calls,” said Cosindas. Moving across the country for the year, “felt like the best option as my job would have suffered and my son would have suffered if we tried to stay in Los Angeles.”

Cosindas is one of many parents in advertising scrambling to figure out how to manage work and their child’s education as the school year begins. For many, that means resuming the tricky task of balancing virtual learning with work calls as many school districts are remaining remote for the time being. While parents were able to manage remote learning this past spring for a few months, many say that the prospect of having to do so for a full school year is daunting, as they fear employers will lose patience with the necessary tradeoffs.

For many parents, going into the fall “feels different because we now realize we are in it for many months,” said Karen Hunt, president of the West Coast region at UM, adding that when her kids initially started remote learning back in March the assumption was that it would just last a few weeks. Going into the fall, “we are planning to be more stringent with rules around both the kids’ school schedules as well as our work schedules.”

While Hunt says that UM has been supportive of working parents and the flexibility needed for parents’ complex schedules this upcoming year, others say that they aren’t sure it will last. Some parents say they worry that agencies were flexible last Spring as the need to do so was for a few months but with the prospect of being flexible for a whole semester or year, some agencies may not be as forgiving. Some of those parents say they fear they will be more at risk of being laid off should another wave of layoffs happen.

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