January 19, 2022 / Staff Management

10 Things to Do If Someone on Your Staff Gets COVID-19

Written by Jenica Hallman, CJE

We all know someone who has had COVID-19, and it’s very possible someone on your staff has had it. But if you plan ahead, there are some steps you can take to make sure that a COVID quarantine doesn’t stop the production of your yearbook.

  1. Make a plan to retrieve or drop off equipment.

One of the biggest problems can come from missing or checked out equipment. If a photographer is sick and still has the camera, the rest of the staff may struggle to photograph school events. Or maybe they have the camera, but they don’t have a card reader to upload photos. Put a plan in place now so someone can pick up or drop off equipment while maintaining a safe distance. That way your staff can continue to work effectively in school or at home. It’s worthwhile to make sure every camera bag has a card reader included so the photographers have everything they need to upload photos.

  1. Have a clear chain of command.

When your staff knows who to report to, it’s easier to fill in when someone is out. Adviser Andrew Young, CJE, from Woodland Junior High School in Fayetteville, Arkansas, has groups of four that work together under a single managing editor. The managing editor is part of a team of managing editors that work under the editor-in-chief. Since incorporating this staff structure, Young is asked fewer questions because the staff go to their managing editor first. Because the managing editor is familiar with what each staff member is working on, their team can fill in easily as needed for a staff member who might be out.

Your staff should also cross-train on each other’s responsibilities within the chain of command. Cross-training is a good practice in general, and even more important right now. Yearbook is a group effort, so don’t let all the responsibility fall to one person who may not always be available. Encourage your staff to be flexible and learn new skills when the opportunity arises. Those skills will shine in their digital portfolios!

  1. Widen your community of photographers.

If a photographer is out, it’s time to widen your community of photographers. Talk to parents, coaches, booster clubs, your administration, other teachers and even other schools to see who can help. Parents are probably already taking pictures of their children, an assistant principal may already be planning to attend the event or the rival sports team may have their own student photographer assigned to the game who might be willing to share photos. Yearbook Snap makes it easy for anyone to send you photos. Of course, the best plan is to take photos early and often so you have plenty of options.

  1. Use Walsworth resources.

We have tons of resources built with you in mind. Here are just a few that might help!

  • Get great social content from our social media calendars. If your marketing manager is out, we have social media calendars already built with plans and content so you stay active online. Find them here.
  • Use Walsworth content spreads. We have several spreads for you to use in case you need them. They are created by a yearbook adviser about relevant topics for students in 2022. Talk to your Walsworth rep to get access to these pages.
  • Watch a Walsworth webinar. If you as the adviser have to be out, our webinars provide educational and helpful information that are easy for a sub as a lesson plan.
  • Follow the Walsworth monthly checklists. We’ve created monthly checklists so you know what your staff should focus on month after month. If you stay on track, you are less likely to have a sickness or quarantine derail your progress.
  1. Make an editing checklist for spreads for proofing if an editor is out.

When your team knows what to look for, they are less likely to make the mistakes to begin with. Make an editing checklist so the staff can self-proof or fill in for an editor who might be out sick. A lot of simple edits can be made early, like making sure every photo has a photo credit, that consistent spacing is used between elements, and that stylistic design choices have been followed appropriately.

  1. Utilize apps and technology.

There are so many great apps and technologies now that can make your life easier. Use them! Here are a few of our favorites.

  • Canva: com is a great resource to help you create beautiful graphics you can use within your yearbook and on social media. If your graphic designer or marketing manager is out, turn to Canva. Your staff will have options for modular coverage, infographics and social media posts to match the look of your book and they can be easily uploaded to Yearbook 360!
  • Google: Especially if you are a Google school, Google Drive, Google Classroom, Google Sheets, Google Photos and Google Calendar (and plenty Google applications) can keep your staff connected and on the same page.
  • Otter: Otter is a popular app to record, transcribe and share interviews. If a staff member or the person they want to interview is out, eliminating the option to interview in person, Otter can be a great resource. Or you can interview in-person six feet apart and send the transcription to your team.
  • Sticky Notes: If you are an Online Design school, many of your communication needs already have solutions in place. Staff and editors can work from anywhere with an internet connection, and sticky notes – which are automatically dated – help editors and staff follow up on questions and remaining needs. Jamboards is a Google app that has similar capabilities, and Google schools already have access to this app.
  • Trello or Basecamp: There are a lot of collaboration platforms out there, but ones like these can help your staff stay on top of projects and outstanding tasks so nothing falls between the cracks if someone is out.
  1. Plan backup content.

There may unfortunately be events canceled in the eleventh hour. What will you do? Think about these options.

  • Have some backup showstopper spreads. You can use the Walsworth content spreads we mentioned above for ready-made, drag-and-drop spreads, or maybe one of your designers has a great idea that you ran out of room for in the book. Maybe there are additional student profiles you could include. Think how excited those students would be to know they are featured in the book. While you don’t have to go out and create new content, this could be a great option for an idea you’ve never had room for before. Browse our online galleries to get inspired by what others are doing!
  • Sell additional ads. Highlight a student or local business and bring in additional income at the same time. Whether it’s a parent who missed the original deadline or a business who would love to support you, it’s a win-win situation! We even have some graphics that can help on our Marketing
  • Use the content you have. You might have more content than you realize. Could one or more of your spreads actually work great as two spreads? Don’t limit yourself. By changing the angle of a story, you might still be able to cover a topic even if an event was canceled or postponed.
  1. Incorporate mini-deadlines.

Adviser Susan Colyer, MJE, of Southside High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas, foresaw that there might be disruptions to the school year when she and her editor were talking over the summer, so they decided to plan ahead by making weekly deadlines instead of letting everything fall under the umbrella of their page deadlines. When the staff knew what was expected of them, it was easier to stay on task when several staff members were out. The staff didn’t come to a standstill or wait for their editor to return.

  1. Keep crowdsourcing.

Your student body has amazing material they can share, so take them up on it! Utilize Yearbook Snap so everyone can become a yearbook photographer. You can get the word out with these resources.

Social media is a helpful tool for crowdsourcing. In the past, you might have waited for a student your staff wanted to interview to return to school, but now social media allows you to talk to them in person without having to step foot in the school. Snapchat helped Colyer’s staff contact a quarantined student quickly, get a quote and provide verification since there was a video.

  1. Decide how to submit on time if you (the adviser) are out.

When advisers are out, it can be harder to submit. Those who have a co-adviser have an advantage at the moment, but you can still submit spreads even if you are a solo adviser. First, call your rep. Let them know what’s going on so they can help, and the two of you can develop a plan of action.

If you are an Online Design school, you can proof and submit spreads from anywhere and stay on top of what’s being accomplished by your yearbook staff. This is a helpful for advisers who are quarantined or have very mild cases, but still feel healthy enough to work. Your rep can help you determine exactly when you have to submit in order to meet your ship date, but communication is key. Check with your editors to go down the chain of command so the spreads need as little work as possible. Is there anyone else who can help you proof? Perhaps another English teacher can review the spreads for grammar edits. Are there other spreads that could be submitted to meet a deadline? Colyer uses her ads and colophon as backup spreads that can be submitted to meet a deadline if her planned spreads are not ready.

We Believe in You

We’ve seen amazing things from yearbooks staffs these last few years, and we know we will continue to see greatness from you, whether you are in the classroom, working from home or a hybrid of the two. Remember to have fun every once in a while too. Keeping up morale will go a long way in getting things done.

Keep in touch with your rep and CSR to let them know your needs so we can continue to help you produce a yearbook your school will love!

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Jenica Hallman, CJE

Jenica Hallman, CJE, is a Copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks. Yearbooks got into her blood in high school, and she has been pursuing them ever since. She has worked in various capacities as a high school and college yearbook editor, an adviser, sales representative, plant customer service representative and now in marketing, her favorite role to date. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass media communications from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.