Worlds collide when three Science reporters—and parents—cover coronavirus and schools

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Xinhua/Serge Haouzi via Getty Images

By Jennifer Couzin-Frankel, Gretchen Vogel, Lila GutermanNov. 20, 2020 , 4:20 PM

Science’s COVID-19 reporting is supported by the Pulitzer Center and the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Since March, Science has reported on the research—and lack thereof—guiding the hard decisions schools have faced in the coronavirus pandemic. After stories in the spring and summer, an article this week examines schools in countries with high viral transmission. The reporters and editor steering this coverage don’t leave it behind when the workday ends: All three have school-age children. In this conversation, they reflect on the intersection of the personal and the professional.

Lila Guterman: Gretchen and Jennifer, I’m happy to have the chance to chat with you after editing your stories on this topic! All of our kids are close in age, ranging from 8 to 13. But we’ve experienced three very different school environments: I’m in Washington, D.C., where public schools including my kids’ have been closed since March; Gretchen is in Berlin, where the public school her children attend opened this fall with full classes after a limited reopening in April; and Jennifer is in Philadelphia, with two children in private schools that reopened …

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