School leaders prepare students for shutdown

BROOKVILLE – Due to the COVID-19 outbreak students in the Brookville Local School District, like others in the state of Ohio, are on a break for several weeks.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered schools closed until at least April 3. With Brookville schools scheduled to be on Spring Break the week of April 6-10 Brookville students will not be back in session until April 13 at the earliest.

This was reported on by Brookville Superintendent of Schools Tim Hopkins at the March 16 school board meeting.

Following the meeting he explained that teachers were in the local school buildings last week through half of the day on Thursday, March 19 preparing on-line lessons for the students as at the end of the school day on March 16 the schools closed until April 13.

“A couple of times in the next couple of weeks they (teachers and administrative staff) will be back in the buildings,” for meetings, etc. he said.

At the March 16 meeting several of the building administrators and staff spoke of two on-line message platforms informing students and parents of on-line lessons, Parent Square and Student Square.

Hopkins said that parents and students who have the on-line applications for these platforms receive messages from the teachers and school administrators.

“It is an eklectr4onic communications tool between the parents and students and the teachers, Hopkins said.

That platform will be busy in the next few weeks it was noted at the March 16 meeting.

Hopkins also noted that information about the current situations as it pertains to COVID-19 could be found on the district’s Web site,, and the district’s Facebook page.

As for comments from the school administrators about the shutdown, Brookville Elementary School Principal Shawn Thomas said the school staff is trying to stay positive.

“The teachers were in all weekend (March 13-15) as they tried to prepare three weeks of lesson plans,” she said. “We are going to be positive with this.”

Brookville Intermediate School Principal Erin Wheat said the students handled the shutdown fairly well.

“Our kids have handled it,” he said. “The teachers have worked extremely hard to get them (students) ready for the educational experience for the kids.”

Board President Joe Mellon spoke for not just himself, but the board as well, in saying “as a board we all appreciate the hard work done by the teachers. Thank you.”

With activities cancelled or postponed due to the shutdown, Mellon said that he feels “compassion” for the students who have lost programs or opportunities.

Amongst the activities cancelled was the musical, “Beauty and the Beast<” which was scheduled at Brookville High School March 19-21.

It was noted by Jeff Requarth, Brookville’s Transportation Director, who also handles buildings and grounds maintenance, that the transportation department will use the shutdown time to clean the districts school busses, and custodians will be cleaning the buildings as well.

He noted that some repair work on the buildings, like repairs to the baseball and softball diamonds at the high school, would be on-going as well.

Hopkins further noted at the March 16 meeting “our people have been working their tail off since Thursday (March 12, when DeWine’s order came down),” he said. “Our teaching staff has done a great job getting things ready.

“It has been extremely difficult on our teachers, administrators and classified staff\,” he added.”

As things move forward Hopkins stated, “It is now not just about the grades, it is about the learning experiences for our kids.”

Hopkins noted after the meeting his appreciation to community volunteers who came together on March 15 to pack food bags for students who needed food to bring home with them for the shutdown period.

He said that school food service workers would have food bags available to those students who qualify “on a weekly basis, as needed.”

He further noted that any parent of a student who may have food needs could contract him at his office number, 937-833-2181, or email him at [email protected], to let him know of the need.

“We stand ready to help out with this for as long as we need to,” he said.

He also noted that the school administrative offices would be open on an abbreviated schedule during the shutdown.

The next meeting for Brookville Local Schools Board of Education, if held, is set for Monday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at the Brookville schools administration building, 75 June Place, Brookville.

Hopkins did state to the board members to be ready to address any upcoming issue as it occurs.

By Kevin O’Boyle

[email protected]

Reach this writer at [email protected], or call 937-833-2545.