When the number of coronavirus cases began to rise in the San Francisco area in early July, mother of one Lian Chikako Chang started a Facebook group to support local families and teachers who were suddenly facing the prospect of schools not opening in person as planned in mid-August.
The “Pandemic Pods” group, which aims to help with childcare and schooling needs, grew to more than 30,000 members within three weeks, as areas across the US were hit by Covid-19 spikes and more schools decided to stay shut.
“Families were left scrabbling for solutions,” says Ms Chang. “Most parents have to work, and most jobs are not compatible with home-schooling”.
And it’s not just Facebook parents are turning to. Matchmaking apps and websites have sprung up offering to help parents connect with other families to form “safe” learning pods, or match them with teachers who can give online lessons, dubbed