Yearbook Journalism: Capturing COVID-19 in Your Yearbook

What will your students remember?

The first quarter of 2020 has been off to a unique start. We have found ourselves immersed in the COVID-19 public health crisis. This is the first time any of us have experienced a pandemic of this nature in our lifetimes. For many students this will be the most impactful thing of the year. Consider having a page dedicated to how the coronavirus is impacting your school.

At the moment, it might seem difficult to remove yourself from the experience, so we’ve gathered some tips to help you hit the ground running and capture COVID-19 in the yearbook. Just don’t forget to wash your hands first.

How did COVID-19 impact our students?

For many students, they quickly saw changes in their classrooms, as teachers provided hand sanitizer at every turn. Students started carrying it in their back packs and having bottles on their desks, others may have begun walking the hallways in face masks to protect themselves and those around them from coronavirus. Many schools and after school activities have been canceled leaving students to learn from home, which for many was a first.

How did COVID-19 impact your communities parents?

With students learning from home and not having after school programs or sports, parents have needed to quickly adapt their work and home lives to accommodate for these changes with little to no warning. Given the timing, Spring break vacations have been canceled or extended. Some families have found themselves stuck outside of their homes for unexpectedly long periods of time. And let’s not forget their struggle to keep toilet paper in the home.

How did COVID-19 impact your teachers?

Focused on the safety of their students, many teachers were forced to work with their labor unions in order to get their schools closed. Other teachers found themselves helping out by finding unique ways to ensure their students clean their hands properly such as singing “Happy Birthday.” Beyond staying focused on the safety of their students, they were quickly finding ways to provide at home learning solutions to their students as well. All the while they may have found themselves uncertain of their own wages and if schools closed, would they still be compensated.

How did COVID-19 impact your school administration?

Principals and school administrators have been forced with making hard and fast decisions based on feedback from the federal and state governments, local health departments, teachers unions, and parent organizations. Some districts and schools were quick to react, while others were not.

What happened in your community, and how can you capture it?

The yearbook is the best place to cover these stories to ensure that years from now, when your children and students look back they have a clear picture of what happened. To make sure you capture the coronavirus in your communities yearbook, consider interviewing students, parents, teachers, and principals in your school. Take photos of students in masks, hand sanitizer in classrooms, school closure signs. Snap screenshots of what the online learning experience looked like.

Ask if your yearbook provider will be providing free, professionally designed year in review pages for you to add to your yearbook. If so, how do they plan to cover the coronavirus?

Please Note: As this is an ongoing pandemic, we will continue to update this post regularly with new information and ideas for you to bring to your yearbook committee. Check back frequently for more information.

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