Before classrooms across Ohio closed and students had to adapt to remote learning, the yearbook staff at Bexley High School had only one period a day to meet and plan out the publication.

These days, though, the four student executive editors have ample time to text, email and video conference as they collaborate on the 180-page book.

Which is good, because they need it.

Like every high school yearbook staff across Ohio, the Bexley team is working under pressure to find creative solutions for a yearbook that, because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, will no longer feature spring sports, proms and potentially even graduation ceremonies.

"It's not what any of us expected, but we've been able to adapt to that situation," said Bexley senior Will Feldman, one of the executive editors.

Feldman and his fellow students have been unable to meet physically since March 17, when Ohio school buildings closed. Gov. Mike DeWine's announcement in April that classrooms would remain empty until at least the fall made it clear that they won't be able to meet for the rest of the academic year.

But extended deadlines and cloud-based systems facilitating remote work are enabling area yearbook staffs to adapt and still put out a product that will, out of necessity, be like no other preceding it.

"All of our students know that their job when they take the class is to document this specific year," said Janie Saunders, the yearbook adviser at Dublin Coffman High School. "They know it's their job to record this crazy, unique time, so hopefully we'll do a good job of it."

Coverage of the first half of the school year featuring fall and winter activities will remain unchanged. But yearbook pages that are typically filled with photos of baseball, track and proms will instead be largely devoted to content of COVID-19 and how students are spending time at home in quarantine.

The Coffman yearbook staff is relying on students and family members to submit their own photos documenting the moment.

At Centennial High School, part of the Columbus City Schools district, the yearbook staff is planning to include a timeline of the statewide response to the coronavirus, said David Leatherwood, the faculty adviser for the publication.

The yearbook staff at Hilliard Davidson High School is supplementing its product with a mini-magazine of sorts, including facts, figures and the human side of the virus.

"My hope is that, by filling those pages with notable facts from COVID-19 as well as candid photos, that students will have an accurate snapshot of this time period when they peruse their yearbook years from now," said Heidi Burke, an English teacher and yearbook adviser.

Most schools rely on a June deadline to turn in drafts to their publishers to allow for an August distribution. Some have requested an extension, however, to deal with the current environment and potentially cover a late-summer graduation ceremony.

"We want to include those events that are special for the students," said Bethany Black, the yearbook adviser at Grandview Heights High School, where she hopes they can distribute the books by the end of September. "Because the yearbook represents the events and memories of one school year, we think it's important to cover how this health crisis will affect our school, our students and our community."

Much still remains to be determined, such as the best way to recognize athletes who won't be able to compete in spring sports and theater students who won't perform their spring musicals.

"This is nothing we've seen before, so we don't have an answer exactly for how it's going to look," Feldman said.

His school's staff is taking to digital platforms such as Instagram to communicate with students and solicit input.

"Everything that we do is through the internet anyways," said Bexley senior Julia Miracle, one of the yearbook executive editors, who is viewing the challenge as an opportunity to freshen up the final product. "With this being such a different type of school year, now it's exciting to switch up the spreads, incorporate new ideas."

elagatta@dispatch.com

@EricLagatta