In these cacophonous times, a little choral music might go some way to ease the soul. But with churches shut or at least restricted to small gatherings, the live sacred music that accompanies religious gatherings is gone – it’s simply too risky to be singing in groups, scientists say.

Virtual choirs have tried to fill the void, but according to Donna Cox, a choral conductor and music professor at the University of Dayton, they are “pale imitations of the real thing.” She explains why, with a nod to the central role music has played in Christian traditions.

This week we also liked articles about calls in Atlanta to stop honoring a 19th-century "mild racist," the financial challenges colleges and universities face and when it’s OK for members of the military to disobey orders.

Matt Williams

General Assignments Editor

Even when singing does take place, voices are muffled. Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

Churchgoers aren’t able to lift every voice and sing during the pandemic – here’s why that matters

Donna M. Cox, University of Dayton

A choral conductor and scholar of sacred music explains what's missing from church worship with singing banned due to the pandemic – and why live choir rehearsals are still a ways off

California State University schools have ruled out in-person classes for this fall. FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Going online due to COVID-19 this fall could hurt colleges’ future

Christopher Newfield, University of California, Santa Barbara

Opening colleges and universities for in-person instruction this fall could be risky, but so could going online. A higher education funding expert explains why.

The new model predicts the growth of small ponds on arctic ice sheets. Scientific Visualization Studio / NASA

Video: How simple math can help predict the melting of sea ice

Anurag Papolu, The Conversation

Understanding sea ice loss requires expensive and difficult expeditions. Scientists have developed a new model that predicts the growth of small ponds on sea ice more efficiently.