Siblings explain difficulty of having teachers as parents during COVID-19

The Laffin family consists of two educators and two "Student Journalists".

Mid-Hudson News has launched a “Student Journalist” section to allow elementary, middle, and high-school students to write essays or “news as they see it” for submission.  The following is a joint effort essay from siblings and “Student Journalists” Patrick and Samantha Laffin.

PLEASANT VALLEY – About mid-March, our normal lives changed. We are both students in the Arlington School District and our parents both teach in the Poughkeepsie City School District. The Arlington School District and all others closed due to the Coronavirus sweeping across the world. These closings were to avoid close contact with people and to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. We know that while walking through schools normally there are many germs from everyone touching pencils, pens, keyboards, desks, lockers, and pretty much everything. We both understand that schools need to stay closed because of being around hundreds of students and adults. Schools must open when this pandemic gets under control. Students need to see their friends, teachers and we want to end the school year on a good note. 

Since we cannot be in school we have to do our homeschooling online and make the best of it. We do not get to slack. The teachers are sending us work every day. The biggest challenge at first as a middle schooler was being comfortable handing in answers online. The biggest challenge as a fourth-grader has been making sure I don’t forget to put my work in the right spot. We have two teachers as parents so they have a lot of students to work with. Sometimes we have to wait until they are done before we ask for help. They are on conference meetings and learning how to do this too. The good thing about having our mom as a math teacher is she can explain the math. Our dad teaches history and is good at grammar. We have a daily schedule, set up by dad, and our parents keep us to it as much as possible. We pretty much have to go to bed at or close to normal school day time and get up in the morning. Dressed and ready between 8:00 and 8:30 am. We miss our teachers. 

A big part of our day is staying active. We have two dogs Ned and Kit. We walk them often and we get them outside. We also do a nightly family walks with our neighbors. We all stay spaced out but at least we get to see other people. My dad sets the time after dinner, texts the neighbors and the walking begins for whoever wants to join in. Both of us like to play catch and shoot hoops. We are both doing workouts to stay in shape. I (Patrick) do virtual workouts online with my coaches and baseball teammates from North Star Sports. Our team is the North Star Naturals and Jerry North set up a google classroom for us. He also goes online and teaches us skills and then puts us through tough exercises. I get to see my team online and hear them during the workouts. I miss them a lot. Samantha does workouts virtually as well and works with dad on basketball. We log our workouts for P.E. credit. We both miss our travel teams and our coaches. We miss playing in games and going to practice. Both of us like to play games but not a lot of video games. 

Being at home all the time is not that bad. We get to spend a lot of time with our parents and pets. Most of the time it is good but we also like to go find our own space. We try not to get on each other’s nerves but sometimes we do. We both try to stay in touch with our friends through texting, calls and Facetiming them. We really miss our grandparents and other family. Our grandparents are cool and we have a lot of fun with them. Hopefully, they come up with treatments and a vaccine that will help people. We want to get back to normal. We want to go back to school and do all the things we love to do. The situation hasn’t been hard but we will get through it. We both want to be able to watch the Yankees crush the Red Sox and Astros soon. Hopefully, this won’t be our new normal.

About the authors:
Patrick Laffin is a seventh-grader at Lagrange Middle School and Samantha Laffin is a fourth-grader at West Road Elementary. Both reside in Pleasant Valley, NY with their parents and two dogs Ned and Kit. Patrick was the lead writer with support from co-author Samantha.
If you have a student that is interested in writing a submission, please send an email to Todd Bender at and include a brief bio and picture of the student along with a note from the parent giving us permission to edit and post the story and photograph.

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