Pandemic Prompts Latin Students to Help Out


NBC Chicago

Mia stands for a photo after having given care-package bags out to the community

McLaine Leik, Staff Writer

As quarantine becomes the new normal, our jam-packed schedules of lazily wasting days on Netflix, eating, and sleeping also begin to change. School has officially started again after spring stay-cations, and with it, the classes, assignments, and homework have steadily started to roll back into our daily lives, interrupting our much-beloved routines of doing, well, nothing.

But, along with homework, housework has also become a part of our daily lives. Between washing dishes, cleaning rooms, vacuuming floors, and giving pets much-needed baths, quarantine has forced kids to assume many new responsibilities around the house that they might not have done before social distancing and sheltering in place came into our lives. And, in addition to doing chores, many kids have been donating their time to help out medical workers, patients, seniors, and police officers during these unprecedented times. So, whether it’s helping around the house or helping others survive this pandemic, Latin students have been putting their best foot forward to help as much as they can.

Students at Latin are rarely responsible for household chores, but because of the stay-at-home orders, kids are helping out around the house, accepting new chores and responsibilities along the way. Freshman Ellie Baker has cooked meals for her family, sophomore Lucy Norris has been washing a lot more dishes than usual, and junior Zoie Yannias gave her dog a bath for the first time. These are only a few of the many examples of chores that Latin students have been doing to help keep their houses in order during quarantine, and, though these actions are small, students are learning that helping out around the house is an important way to support their families and contribute to their households. 

Other than simply doing chores, many Latin students are encountering new, and sometimes stressful, situations. Many Latin parents work in the medical field, and are on the front lines of the pandemic, risking their own health to help others. While many Latin families are entirely holed up in their houses, other families who have healthcare workers are risking exposure every day. Some students whose parents are doctors do not find it stressful that their parents are still going to work, like freshmen Kiran Garapati. His grandma is helping out by sewing masks and giving them to Kiran’s mom, a doctor, who in turn is giving them to her patients who have cancer. Many families with healthcare workers, like the Garapatis, who are already risking so much, are also helping out their community as much as they can.

However, unlike Kiran, freshmen Alena Brandt, whose parents are both doctors as well, finds it scary that her parents are being exposed to the virus every time they go to work. Alena says that she is “worried for them because, although they are healthy, they are exposed to coronavirus more often than a normal person would be… the aspect of not knowing what would happen if my parents get the virus is the main thing that scares me.” A new responsibility Alena and her sisters have picked up is helping to sew masks for her dad’s medical practice. They made over forty masks, and the nurses that received them were incredibly grateful. 

Many Latin families have been donating different goods and materials to hospital workers and patients, and also to seniors and police officers. Freshmen Mia Banks is making goodie bags for policemen and seniors who are at risk. The adorable bags are decorated with a sticker that reads Stay Safe and Smile, and are filled with crossword puzzles, postcards, handmade medical masks, and many more goodies for seniors. For police officers, the goodie bags include hand sanitizer, water, protein bars, face masks, and handwritten cards thanking the policemen for their service during this difficult time. As the efforts of the Banks family have shown, though this time has been difficult, it is bringing families, neighbors, neighborhoods, and entire communities together to help out and make a difference to combat this pandemic.

“We need to do something so that the community knows we’re grateful for them, we appreciate them,” Mia said in a news interview with NBC Chicago. 

Coronavirus has created a new normal in many ways around the world—with restaurant closures, abandoned train stations, grounded planes, and—perhaps the thing that affects us all the most—the cancellation of school. Social distancing is in everyone’s life, but instead of being polarized, people are finding ways to come together and make a difference. Whether they are washing dishes in the morning, sewing masks for our brave hospital workers and patients, or trying to make a senior or police officer’s day just a little bit brighter, Latin students are doing as much as they can to spread positivity and connectedness not only throughout their households, but their communities and city. There are so many unknowns about this virus, but one thing is certain: we are all in this together.