Amid the challenges of working full time from home, Westerville North athletics director Wes Elifritz was confronted with an immediate crisis one afternoon while helping take care of his three young children.

On top of duties that included completing coaches' evaluations, scheduling for fall sports and figuring out how to honor winter athletes whose seasons came to a premature end, Elifritz's son had lost his pacifier.

"We're in meltdown mode right now," Elifritz said, laughing.

Like all other athletics directors, Elifritz's day job is to make sure his department continues to run smoothly, even as no games or practices are being held because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association announced April 8 that it had a tentative plan in place for an abbreviated spring season if students returned to their classrooms May 4.

However, on April 20, Gov. Mike DeWine announced that school buildings will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year and the OHSAA followed by canceling spring sports.

"Without games to line up or officials to take care of, there's definitely a void," Elifritz said. "A challenge has been staying connected with the coaches, athletes, anybody connected with our program. The coaches have done a great job of lining up workouts for their teams. I still have to run eligibility reports for the third period because that determines eligibility for spring athletes.

"Fall sports schedules are pretty much done and we're down to one girls basketball game (remaining to schedule for next winter), so we're always trying to work ahead however we can."

Like Elifritz, Thomas Worthington athletics director Jen Goebbel balances her work with spending more time with her 6- and 4-year-old sons.

"I live right across the street from Thomas, which is incredibly convenient. We don't have a printer at home so I head over to my office for some things," Goebbel said. "I have those moments where I realize I'm incredibly lucky to spend this time with my two boys. I'm doing my budgets with them there.

"I have my end-of-season (coaches) evaluations, too, and I've always liked sitting down with them one-on-one as sort of a bookend to each season. Now, we do that electronically. It can be hard to adjust to some things. (Athletics directors) are so schedule-oriented."

Coaching searches also continued at several schools, although interviews largely were by phone or online video platforms such as FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.

"You have to get creative with technology and how things are different now," said Olentangy Liberty athletics director Darin Meeker, who recently hired boys soccer and girls basketball coaches. "It's difficult to replace that in-person interview, that interaction, but you still have to do your due diligence -- reviewing résumés and letters of interest and speaking to references. It's all about making the best use of your time that you can."

Upper Arlington's search for a football coach ended two weeks into the shutdown when Justin Buttermore was hired March 25, but as of last week the Golden Bears still were seeking a coach for their perennially successful girls swimming and diving program.

"There's a big learning curve for everybody," UA athletics director Tony Pusateri said. "We've had a lot of great guidance from our superintendent (Paul Imhoff) because we all want to know what we can do."

Several area athletics directors, including Elifritz, Big Walnut's Brian Shelton and New Albany's Richie Wildenhaus, began recording video interviews with coaches and athletes and have uploaded several per week to social media.

Pickerington Central athletics director Bo Hanson took that interaction in a different direction, tweeting several photos of Tigers teams, support staff and fans each day beginning March 14 with the hashtag #YWePlay.

Several other schools, including Fisher Catholic, Heath, Lancaster and Teays Valley, followed suit.

"The thing I miss most about everyday life is just having the kids stop by my office," Hanson said. "I thought that was a good way to keep some normalcy out there, posting about athletes doing what they do."

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave