Students Respond to COVID-19

Click to view the spreadsheet where this data is collected.

What happened on campuses? A student perspective

As the coronavirus spread across the United States and campuses made — and revised — their policies for labor and learning, student journalists documented these events and their impact on their local communities.

Student newspapers reveal how student life has gone on alongside changes across campus, and show how students have joined forces with faculty and staff to fight for their health and their right to learn.

Underlying this project is a growing database containing hundreds of news articles written by students around the country. We use timelines to tell a small piece of the story.

This project is inspired by Bearing Witness, The Covid-19 & Inequality History Documentation Project.

General Timeline:
What Happened

CovidCampus timeline screenshot

This timeline records the events of the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on university students, as told by students themselves. Its focus is on the broad sweep of events, from study abroad to spring break to remote learning.

The timeline draws on student newspapers at community colleges, public universities, and liberal arts colleges across the United States to paint a broad picture of how universities responded to the pandemic, and how students have stepped up to support their community during unprecedented times.

Designed by Hannah Alpert-Abrams and the VFC.

Regional Spotlight:
Greater Boston

Greater Boston timeline screenshot

This timeline focuses on student newspapers in Greater Boston. A work in progress that will be updated in the coming days as many college students continue to return to the area, it highlights student reactions to campus closings, critiques of administrative policies, and concerns about the fall semester. Given the number of colleges and students in Greater Boston, we felt that this region would be a compelling case study to visualize in this fashion. While Boston is still a city with national, regional, and alternative newspapers, the number of print and online publications has dropped significantly in recent years, leaving many student newspapers as essential independent voices covering the impact of university decisions on campus communities and the city at-large.

We hope this timeline encourages people to look across universities and campuses in their own parts of the country and to look back at the sheer amount of decisions, revisions, and reversals that have taken place over the last year.

Designed by Jim McGrath and the VFC.

Join the Project

Interested in the data? These projects draw from the #CovidCampus database, a collection of over 700 student newspaper articles about COVID. Learn more about the data here.

You are also welcome to use our data set to make your own timeline, or for any other kind of research. Click here to learn more about Timeline.JS, the platform we used to make these timelines. We’re especially interested in talking to students and student journalists who may have thoughts on how to revise, expand, or otherwise make use of project data to positively impact their campus communities. Email us at to learn more or to add your timeline to our website!