TAB adjusts to COVID-19

Staff adapts to changes in workspace, yearbook layout

Collette Doyle, Reporter

Last spring, Jake Taylor ‘21 was inspired to try out for Tabulae (TAB) after his English teacher suggested it could help him to further develop his photography skills. As a last minute addition to staff in August, Taylor joined well aware of the challenges COVID-19 would pose for this year’s yearbook, he said. However, the ever-changing structure of this year continues to push Taylor and other staff members to adapt and evolve. 

“To my knowledge, it seems like we’re roughly all getting the same amount of spreads to cover,” Taylor said. “But, it’s difficult because I cover clubs, and there’s a lot of clubs that have decided to not meet indefinitely, and I really can’t take pictures of anything at the moment.”

With sports schedules rearranged, limited clubs meeting in person and no spectators at school events, spreads may look a bit different this year, TAB advisor Joseph Maffey said. Maffey speculates that astronomy club—a club usually given a one page spread—may be covered more extensively given its ability to meet this year, or the cross country spread might expand coverage to include the team’s adaptations to COVID-19 as well.

“There’s just so much that happens at LT in a normal year, that some things don’t get as much space as they maybe deserve,” Maffey said. “So we’re looking at it as an opportunity to show off some of the things that we don’t normally cover as extensively. But I think we have a pretty good outline.”

To address the yearbook layout and format for class this year, Maffey regularly consults with TAB Editors-in-Chief: Erin McGovern ‘21, Sophia Lucina ‘21 and Gianna Torrisi ‘21.

“It’s tough,” McGovern said. “I do miss being in class with everybody; we have a super cool community. But because we’re not in school, working on computers can get a little messy when we’re setting pages because some people are fully remote and can’t work at school.”

Even when they were at school during hybrid learning, the environment was different, McGovern said. In the past, all of the computers were in one room, but given social distancing measures, staff members had to spread out between multiple rooms for computer access. Additionally, after-school meetings have been suspended entirely—raising questions of productivity at home. 

“It’s definitely harder to sit down [at home] and say, ‘Okay right now I’m going to go through all of these photos and write my captions for this spread,’” Taylor said. “At my house, I’ve got my phone, other school work, college stuff and television—all [of which] hinder me from getting the most work done that I can. Whereas when I’m at TAB, I crack down and actually do it.”

However, despite the remote challenges, first year students remain dedicated and on top of their assignments, McGovern said.

“We really got to pick kids who are really committed, smart and well rounded,” McGovern said. “I feel like the first years are doing a really good job of stepping up.”

But, according to Maffey, without “radical collaboration”—consistent and strong communication—the flexibility and dedication students continue to show wouldn’t be possible.

“I’m really proud [that] everyone hasn’t lost motivation because the year’s so messed up,” McGovern said. “We know that because it’s not average, that’s what we need to cover. We’re reshaping the yearbook into something that reflects the uniqueness of this year.”