Since Covid-19 reached Yale, the University underwent a rapid transition to online teaching while continuing to assist faculty, students, and staff, with research and facilities to deal with the impact. Faculty had to strategize distanced learning while balancing long-term research plans, increased administrative workloads, and demanding at-home responsibilities. Uncertainty over plans for the fall reopening only exacerbated stressors for all, particularly instructional faculty, contigent faculty, students, and staff.
In response to the wide-ranging concerns raised about the pandemic, WFF hosted three “Sounding Board” sessions virtually over Zoom during the week of May 11th. Faculty were invited from across all schools and departments to share their questions, concerns, and ideas for what WFF could do to provide support and community-building. Over 60 faculty members from across all genders and types of appointments attended the soundings. These informal gatherings shed light on the experiences of working parents adversely affected by the lack of safe and affordable access to child care on campus and beyond. Faculty were overwhelmingly concerned about the long-term implications of the pandemic’s rapidly deepening inequalities on issues of equity, diversity, and visibility.
WFF has compiled a summary of concerns over childcare and related support raised by faculty in these soundings. The new report, “More than Just Child Care: Policies for Working Parents Navigating Covid-19 and Beyond,” emphasizes two points: firstly, that considerations around child care should be contextualized within wider approaches to faculty work, and secondly, that the impacts of the coronavirus have substantially worsened existing issues of equity and diversity, both at Yale and elsewhere. These inequities will need to be reckoned with long into the future, even after the pandemic subsides.
The report, prepared by Claire Bowern (WFF Chair), Oana Capatina, Reina Maruyama, Naomi Rogers, Nancy Ruther, and Rene Almeling, is linked here.