How to create a yearbook during a pandemic


Drew Timmons

Yearbook editor Alex Rhinehart works with adviser Alex Hollis while staff members listen in. This year’s staff faces many uncertainties due to COVID-19.

Even in ordinary years, creating a high school yearbook comes with many challenges. When a pandemic completely changes everything, including schools, the challenges only grow.

Covering school events becomes much harder, interviewing students and staff has to be carefully planned, and taking pictures becomes tricky with only half of the student body in the building each day.

Chapman yearbook adviser Alex Hollis believes the greatest challenge that staff has faced thus far is working with the A and B day schedule.

“As of Oct. 26, I haven’t had a single day where I’ve had my staff together in the same room,” Hollis said. “That has been a really, really big challenge because it’s kind of like two different groups working on the same project, but they never actually get to work together.”

With the first deadline looming, Hollis said that it’s become tougher with students not together.

“We have our first deadline around Thanksgiving time, and that’s been a pretty big deal not being able to have them all in the same room at the same time,” Hollis said. “Working on anything, whether it’s scheduling, or who’s going to take an assignment, or theme development, any of that is hard when they’re not able to share their opinions with each other and their workload with one another.”

With the alternating schedule comes the issue of time, which Hollis says has been another crucial factor in producing the yearbook.

“Even though we have someone here four days a week, the time we have to work has been severely limited,” Hollis said. “Then, the access to students because we only have half the student body at any given time. Finding the people we need when we need them has been a struggle.”

Additionally, some, if not all, student events have been cancelled, which leaves fewer events for staff members to cover.

“We simply haven’t had the things that are normal parts of the school year to cover, like pep rallies, assemblies, and regular student sections at football games, and all of those things that have been a natural part of what we’d like to cover,” Hollis said. “We’ve really had to struggle to get things that represent this year, but not all in a negative light.”

Yearbook editor Alex Rhinehart says that helping new staff members adjust to the new routine has been her biggest challenge.

“We’ve had to make time for our staff to come together as a full group so that we can all make sure we stay on the same schedule,” Rhinehart said. “Trying to get the new staff members acclimated, especially the ones that aren’t at school when I am, has been especially difficult this year.”

Despite the challenges, Rhinehart and Hollis are both confident that the 2020-2021 yearbook will be just as good as past books.

“One of the things we want to do is that when students receive the yearbooks in May, it’s not a reminder of how negative this year was,” Hollis said. “We want it to be something that students look forward to getting, and that it emphasizes that this year was different, but in a positive way.”

Rhinehart adds that the support of her assistant editors has been key to their success, as well as Hollis’ commitment to the staff.

“My two assistant editors, Seth Atkins and Elana Raines, have been such a big help to me,” Rhinehart said. “As much as I’d love to take credit for the great work this staff has done thus far, I really owe it all to Dr. Hollis. He continues to work tirelessly to make sure that I have the resources I need to help this group succeed.”

See Hollis in room 323 for information on how to purchase a yearbook.