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Omicron is wreaking havoc on schools. Have employers gotten better about supporting working parents since 2020?

January 5, 2022, 1:47 PM UTC
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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! GM was no longer the top-selling car company in the U.S. last year, Andrew Cuomo won’t be prosecuted for a groping charge, and the pandemic is disrupting the lives of working parents—again. Make the most of your Wednesday.

– Back to the future. It’s a new year—but thanks to the Omicron surge, everything old is new again. Example A-1: schools. While most school districts around the U.S. settled back into in-person instruction in the fall of 2021, the rise of the new variant has thrown a wrench in that hard-won progress. Now, as kids come back from the holiday break, schools are wrestling with whether to return to remote.

On some level, this feels even more chaotic than it did back in 2020, with different school districts taking very different approaches, and plenty of whiplash-inducing last-minute changes. So, spare a thought this morning for school-age kids, teachers, administrators, and, yes, working parents.   

And while the spotlight currently rests on the schools themselves, this is also a proof point for employers. There’s been plenty of digital ink spilled since March 2020 about the plight of working moms and dads in the pandemic, but how much did we really learn? What did employers take away from the darkest days of the 2019/2020 school year? Have they found and implemented strategies for supporting employees who are also working parents? Or, did just everyone think, ‘thank goodness that’s over!’ and go back to (mostly) ignoring the ways in which raising kids and maintaining a job is—and always has been—an incredibly hard thing?

This is the moment we find out. If you have something you’d like to share about how your company is (or isn’t) supporting working parents, email me at kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com. We may use your response in a future edition of the The Broadsheet.  

Kristen Bellstrom
kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com
@kayelbee

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Cuomo call. Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo won't face a misdemeanor sex crime charge after Albany County's district attorney decided not to prosecute. The DA's office said they found former Cuomo assistant Brittany Commisso "cooperative and credible," but didn't have enough evidence to prove the allegation, which Cuomo has denied. CNN 

- New No. 1. For the first time in 90 years, GM wasn't the best-selling car company in the U.S. The automaker led by CEO Mary Barra lost the title it's held since 1931 to Toyota, a 2021 swap attributed to each company's handling of the year's supply chain issues and semiconductor chip shortage. CNBC

- Back in court. Abortion providers this week went to the Supreme Court with a long-shot bid to revive their challenge to the Texas six-week abortion ban. They asked the Supreme Court to require a federal appeals court to return their case to a district court judge who is more likely to favor abortion rights. CNN

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Silicon Valley Bank promoted Vartika Ambwani to director focusing on growth fintech in the New York region. Pegasystems hired Katherine Parente as chief people officer. Prologis hired Schneider Electric's Susan Uthayakumar as chief sustainability and energy officer. Siobhan Dullea will step down as CEO of MassChallenge; EVP Cait Brumme will serve as acting CEO. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Cry it out. If you've cried at work—in the office or on Zoom—you're not alone. Harvard Business Review offers five tips to "bounce back with strength and professionalism"—starting with remembering that crying is not career-ending. Harvard Business Review

- Media moguls. Blackstone's media business, whose first deal was a majority stake in Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine, is backing Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith's entertainment company, Westbrook. Westbrook produces projects including Pinkett Smith's Red Table Talk and the film about Venus and Serena Williams's family, King RichardThe Information 

- Baby bust. Public health officials around the world originally expected thousands more unplanned pregnancies as a result of the pandemic, predicting a lack of access to contraceptives. But the opposite trend is emerging, as families avoid pregnancy out of economic concerns and fears of COVID. In Mexico, Zacatecas maternal health chief Edith García Díaz explains what she's seeing. Washington Post

ON MY RADAR

American Girl debuts Chinese-American doll in response to anti-Asian sentiment New York Times

Netflix memo encourages recruiters to avoid talking about Dave Chappelle The Verge

What does marriage ask us to give up? New York Times

PARTING WORDS

"When has something like this ever been on network TV? Our industry was not ready for this before." 

-Adrienne Warren, who plays Mamie Till-Mobley in the new limited series Women of the Movement, about the death of Emmett Till

This is the web version of The Broadsheet, a daily newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.