While Whitehall City Schools, like every other public school district in Ohio, is closed to control the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, the business of the school district must continue.
The Whitehall school board is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. April 9 at the district's administrative offices, 625 S. Yearling Road.
It would be the board's first meeting since March 12, when the series of sweeping statewide orders from Gov. Mike DeWine related to the virus were just starting.
As of March 27, the meeting was expected to be held with board members "attending" remotely from their own homes, though the district still was working out the details of how to livestream it, said Ty Debevoise, director of communications and marketing for Whitehall schools.
The livestreaming is required to comply with the Open Meetings Act and guidance from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost that all public meetings must be remotely accessible to the public if they can't be attended in person.
Superintendent Brian Hamler said March 27 that two items the board likely will address at the meeting are the district's dress code, as well as the hiring of a principal for Whitehall-Yearling High School.
The board is considering adding a greater variety of allowable colors to collared and hooded shirts and pullovers, said board President Mike Adkins.
The policy might prove to be irrelevant for the remainder of the school year if DeWine extends the standing order that public schools remain closed.
During the closure DeWine ordered from March 16 to April 3 -- and extended March 30 until May 1 -- Whitehall put into place measures to both continue educating and feeding the district's 3,400 students.
Chris Hardy, director of accountability and instruction for Whitehall schools, said the district is providing content and assignments to students via online learning.
Students can pick up lunches each weekday at Whitehall-Yearling High School and Kae Avenue Elementary School, Debevoise said.
Hamler said the district is adapting well.
"I am amazed at what I am hearing about our staff's effort to conduct education as close to normal as possible," Hamler said.
"The building leadership teams and teacher-based teams are meeting remotely on a regular basis, planning lessons and addressing problems as they occur," he said. "The curriculum department and IT department are also meeting online with principals on a regular basis to give support."
The reach goes beyond education, Hamler said.
"I hear amazing stories of teachers reading bedtime stories to students, online morning announcements and virtual field trips," he said.
Attendance is high, as well.
During the week of March 16, 84% of Whitehall high schoolers participated in online learning, and other buildings had similar numbers, according to Hamler.
"The curriculum department is in the process of collecting information about families who don't have access and creating a plan to get them the resources they need by the first weekend in April," he said.
Hamler said it all came together more quickly than expected.
"I have never been more proud of educators across the region as they have been asked to re-create what education looks like in a matter of days, not weeks."