Military families on average are doing “okay” during the coronavirus pandemic according to responses to the CMSI ongoing Paint Points Poll, a rolling survey of military families, veterans, caregivers and community leaders. More than 5,200 people have replied to the poll since it launched six weeks ago.
On a scale of one (“having a really hard time”) to five (“excellent”), active-duty family respondents on average report feeling they are just beneath a three. That figure has remained largely unchanged over the past three weeks of polling.
Veteran family respondents on average report a 3.3 on that same scale, according to the most recent results.
This difference may be due to compounding stressors from the COVID-19 crisis, such as unemployment and disruptions to children’s schooling, coupled with the existing challenges that come with military life. Almost 20% of military spouse respondents who were working before the pandemic have lost their jobs or are unable to work.
“I am shouldering the majority of household responsibilities while trying to school a preschooler and do eight hours of work,” one military spouse reported. “There isn’t any ‘me’ time.”
These issues can be further exacerbated for the 25% of military family respondents who said they are currently navigating a deployment or are geo-baching.
The results also show that school districts and local communities need to support students with unique needs and or whose families face financial difficulties, even as students continue their classes from home. Despite national attention on two key issues, these have seen little or no improvement over the past six weeks.
Five percent of respondents report they have inadequate equipment to keep up with schoolwork in week six, down only three percentage points from the first week of polling.
“We are really struggling to get our children educated through the day,” one Navy spouse reported. “Using one computer without video/microphone capabilities has [made it] hard to get our kids’ amount of schooling done.”
One in five respondents who have children with special needs reports a drop in the services their special needs child typically receives through school, a statistic that has not improved since the first week of polling.
Service members, families, veterans, caregivers and community leaders are encouraged to continue taking the poll regularly so CMSI can track the emerging issues and which ones are being addressed.