On March 11, the day the last print issue of The Maroon hit newsstands for winter quarter, there were 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Illinois. Today there are 13,549 and 380 people in the state have lost their lives in the pandemic. Currently, the United States has more cases of the virus than any other country. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this pandemic is one of the greatest strains on our civic and political institutions in living memory.
Though the pandemic spans the globe and we are inundated daily with news from around the world, The Maroon is committed to covering its local effects on the University and on the South Side. March 13 marked the first case of COVID-19 at UChicago Medicine, and we learned that the first member of the UChicago community was diagnosed on March 17. We’ve collected the stories that document the initial weeks of the pandemic at UChicago and in Hyde Park on our website throughout finals week and spring break, and published many in our first issue of the quarter. Physical isolation cannot diminish journalism's value in documenting this chapter of history. We hope what you find in The Maroon, from print to digital to multimedia, reflects that power.
At The Maroon, as at most media organizations, the pandemic has brought with it many changes to daily operations and an era of remote work. Most pressing is the status of our print product: We will cease our normal print publication for the duration of spring quarter 2020. This is not the first time The Maroon’s presses have halted, but it is no less disappointing. As usual, our issues will be made available online, and we will continue to tell the story of the University and the neighborhoods that surround it as the pandemic runs its course.
Finally, while our normal issues will not go to print, we will produce print copies of the Graduation Issue later this spring. For most members of the Class of 2020, this quarter of “remote learning” will be their last in the College. The Maroon’s Graduation Issue typically stands as an account of what has happened in the previous four years. This year’s will do much the same, but we would be remiss not to note the ways this quarter will inflect the Class of 2020’s time at UChicago, and that it was surely not the ending that students anticipated.
What you find in the print, digital, and multimedia products of The Maroon represents the collective efforts of our entire staff, compiled remotely under the policy of social distancing. When life on campus starts to return to normal, The Maroon will be there to report on it.