By Denise Meeks

We are 18 undergraduate and graduate journalism students taking environmental journalism at the University of Arizona School of JournalismJOUR 455/555 is a co-convened course with both upper division and graduate journalism students.

In March of 2020 a spiky virus, SARS-CoV-2, sent us all packing from our university to the confines of our homes and into the arms of online learning. We now interact through the small bright dots above our computer screens. We adjusted, as did our intrepid professor, Susan E. Swanberg.

Our ages span four decades and two generations. Among us are several graduating seniors, a graduating master’s degree student, a newly minted Ph.D. and several working on their dissertation research.

There is a photographer, a geologist and a retired professor. One is a parent. There are sons and daughters, now scattered to the wind.

There are introverts and extroverts too. Some of us have adjusted well and love working at home. Others find motivation difficult when each day seems to be the same as the day before. With little outside contact and without temporal guideposts other than the motion of the sun, it is sometimes difficult to tell what day it is. None of us finds this strange. It is to be expected.

But what we all have in common are Mondays. We meet online every Monday at 3 p.m. via Zoom. We wave and chat and ask each other how we are doing. Sometimes we even talk about class material, but as science journalists, especially in the age of COVID-19 — the disease the spiky virus causes — discussion of how this has affected all of us, and those whom we know, is imperative. We also write stories about the environment.

While we might not realize it now, we have been an excellent, mutual support system. We critique each other’s stories and learn amazing things from each other. And on May 13, 2020 we will celebrate the amazing successes of our peers. While we’d rather be together, this virus has prevented that because being safe is more important.

We’ll be back, writing about the world around us, and making it more accessible to the rest of the planet. COVID-19, you cannot stop us!