Remembering COVID-19: How to Document History Through Your Yearbook

Yearbooks are not only treasured keepsakes. They’re also a powerful way to document the history of a school. And while every class’s yearbook is a special piece of the school’s narrative, this year’s edition will be unique. Because students, teachers, and staff are all living together through a historical moment in time that’s directly impacting schools. Everyone in your school community has had their lives turned upside down. The yearbook, however, is an impactful way to bring back a sense of normalcy—by reflecting on friends, teachers, and milestones.

How do we document the school year in the era of COVID-19? There’s no doubt we must broaden the scope of yearbooks beyond classes, sports, and extracurricular events. These tips and ideas can help you create a yearbook that celebrates your school community and captures the story of this global pandemic for future generations.

Report the story

COVID-19 and the effect it has had on our schools and society is something that kids will undoubtedly study in history class 50 years from now. Document the COVID-19 story in your yearbook with charts, maps, facts, and figures that illustrate the development of the disease and its impact. Create a timeline to show how the pandemic has traveled and progressed. Document the changes and adaptations in your school environment. What school looked like at the end of last year (where we left off). Then skip to the beginning of the new school year when things will certainly look a lot different. Show how these changes evolve throughout the year. This can be done by capturing before and after photos of classrooms, public spaces, playgrounds, etc.

Record the new lexicon

This year, student slang isn’t the only thing to become part of your school’s current lexicon. Along with the worldwide crisis has come a unique new list of related words and phrases. Record the terms that have become part of your school’s everyday language. Some examples may include: social distancing, flatten the curve, pandemic, shelter in place, safer at home, etc.

Rely heavily on student and staff input

COVID-19 has impacted individuals differently. Allow many voices to tell the story by encouraging students and staff to share their stories. Get creative and ask for photos, poems, stories, and artwork to include in this special edition of the yearbook. 

Conduct interviews

There are so many compelling stories to discover within your school community. Take a deep dive, and ask questions that reveal the impact of the crisis, not just on day-to-day routines, but on how the COVID crisis has changed our way of living. Feature quotes throughout your yearbook that capture the essence of what your community has gone through together. 

Distribute surveys

Short survey questions are a great way to gather interesting responses for feature layouts in your yearbook. Here are a few suggestions and examples:

  • Top Ten lists (ten ways to survive spending 24/7 with your family)
  • By the Numbers (numbers of athletes affected by the shutdown)
  • Six Words or Less (feelings the pandemic brought out)
  • Quarantine Must-Haves (things you couldn’t have lived without during quarantine)
  • Best/Worst (things about distance learning)

Uncover lessons learned

Despite the challenges, many people have gained a bit of wisdom from the situation. Spotlight their revelations in a special section. Some examples may include:

  • “I learned I retain information so much better when I read at my own pace.”
  • “I realize how much I like collaborating on problem-solving with my classmates.”
  • "It’s important to be flexible and optimistic when I experience changes.”

Reveal community connections

We have provided support for each other in so many unique, uplifting ways. Your yearbook can document COVID-19 by featuring photos of graduation drive-bys, mobile spirit parades, socially distant home visits, posters in windows, thank-you signs, and chalk sidewalks. In addition, virtual learning has invited us into each other’s homes, allowing us to get to know one another in a more intimate, human way. Who knew your math teacher had a treehouse office? Or that the kid in your history class was a rodeo champion? 

Showcase the humorous side of the situation

Despite the seriousness of the situation, a lot of good humor has been generated from the quarantine. Collect stories for your yearbook that include things such as favorite quarantine outfits, funny Zoom moments, social media trends, and hilarious COVID-themed memes.

Highlight acts of kindness

Communities have come together to support one another in unprecedented ways. Document COVID-19 in your yearbook by telling the stories of your hometown heroes. Include commentary about people who did things like this:

  • Worked together to meet students’ technology needs
  • Helped neighbors
  • Donated food and supplies
  • Sewed masks
  • Manufactured face shields with 3D printers

Document your school’s history with a yearbook like no other

Even during a year as historic and tumultuous as 2020, a yearbook can provide a sense of normalcy to students and families. A yearbook gives them the opportunity to reflect on the unique story of their school and its community. It’s a way to help them remember their friends, teachers, and milestones.

Though the upcoming school year may look different, Remember Me can help you navigate the process of creating a yearbook. It’s easy to get started with virtual access from anywhere. Remember Me can even help you sell your yearbooks with an online storefront and direct-to-home shipping. You’re always guaranteed the lowest prices and high-quality printing. There is no minimum order, no deadline, and no contractual obligation.