School closings mean balancing caring for siblings with online classes


Jamie McNally

Helping with her brother Liam, sophomore Kenna McNally reads “Hamlet and Cheese. While her parents work, McNally is one of many high school students who is also helping care for younger siblings.

By Kenna McNally, Yearbook Managing Editor

While some students may see online school as only having benefits, those of us with younger siblings find the burdens piling up. 

A month and a half ago, I was cramming for tests, going to ballet almost everyday and rarely seeing my family for more than an hour a day. But because of COVID-19, my family is my only in-person human interaction. 

My brothers are 12 and 6, a sixth-grader and a kindergarten. Their personalities and lives are much different than mine, but now we are forced to spend almost every waking minute together. 

Our school schedules are crazy different. Brody, who is in sixth grade, only has two, 30-minute classes a day, four days a week. Liam, the kindergartener, doesn’t Zoom with his class. He fills out activities and sends videos via Seesaw. On top of both of their schedules, I have classes and meetings scattered throughout the day. 

While Brody is pretty self sufficient, I have to make sure he actually does his work and doesn’t just play Fortnite. Liam needs me to help him and walk him through the instructions. 

Liam is by my side all morning, doing his Seesaw, Prodigy, Lalilo and sight words while I’m trying to pay attention and learn in my own classes, still making sure he’s doing his work correctly. 

After everyone is done with their school in the morning, it’s time for me to cook lunch and take everyone out on a walk when the weather is nice. The boys do basketball and soccer afterwards. 

My afternoons are spent trying to make sure they’ve finished their homework, going to my daily journalism meetings, trying to fit a workout in and ending the afternoon with a virtual ballet class. 

Since both of my parents are considered essential workers, and my mom has doubled if not tripled her responsibilities at work, my dad and I split cooking dinner throughout the week. 

After family dinner, it’s time for Liam to ask to play the same game again and later get him to reluctantly take a bath. 

This is my life five days a week.

So to the people who don’t believe teenagers need grace during this and that we are all just lazy and don’t want to do anything, this is our new life. Many of us have never been tasked with teaching younger siblings for eight weeks. Understand that you don’t know what people’s lives look like right now or what they’re going through.