REGIONAL—Coronavirus concerns have caused the Boyden-Hull School District to physically close down for the time being.

The district has shut the doors of its buildings based on Gov. Kim Reynolds’ recommendation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country and around the world.

Boyden-Hull administrators have made sure to keep staff members, students and students’ parents and guardians as updated as possible on how the district is dealing with the disease outbreak.

“We are in uncharted waters in dealing with the school closures due to COVID-19,” said Dan Pottebaum, the principal of the junior high/high school in Hull.

“In the few interactions I have had with students, they have shared that they already miss school and wish we were back in session,” he said.

He said students are being provided online/virtual learning opportunities that are not required or graded work.

“It is an opportunity to continue to grow as a student,” Pottebaum said. “As I shared with one student’s question about whether or not the work is required, I related to a lifting or open gym.

“While lifting and open gyms are not required for participation, they help the student to become the best that they can become,” he said.

He noted teachers and students have access to Zoom, a web-based platform that allows for video conferencing, online meetings and group messaging.

“Continue to keep your skills sharp and use this as an opportunity to be the driver of your learning,” Pottebaum told students. “Challenge yourself to take part in a Zoom meeting with a class when offered.”

He issued a challenge to teachers.

“Think outside of the box,” Pottebaum said. “We have a blank canvas and can paint or create a new lesson or idea.”

Tom Kerr, the principal of Boyden-Hull Elementary in Boyden, said his facility’s teachers also have communicating with students’ parents and guardians electronically.

“Teachers will continue to provide learning opportunities for their students,” he said. “It’s been great to see a number of students and families with the delivering of packets or through Zoom meetings we’ve been having, too.”

Students in first-fifth grades were issued Apple iPads Monday, March 30, in front of the elementary building.

Parents and guardians were asked to stay in their vehicles and bring their own pens while staff members provided them with permission forms to sign for each iPad they were picking up.

Staff members then went into the facility to retrieve students’ iPads while parents signed the permission forms.

Parents and guardians received clear plastic bags that contained iPads with blue cases and chargers, along with some additional learning opportunity papers from students’ teachers.

More than 97 percent of the iPads that were issued were picked up by parents and guardians for their students during the distribution period.

“Teachers will be in contact with their students about different apps that can be used for math and reading,” said Boyden-Hull superintendent Steve Grond. “Thank you to parents and students who came to pick them up.”

A trip for high school music students scheduled for April has been postponed until the 2020-21 academic year.

“We are in communication with the travel agency and working through the details for this postponement,” Pottebaum said.

Regarding prom, Boyden-Hull administrators will be in communication with the junior class sponsors as things are re-evaluated with the coronavirus pandemic and recommendations from the governor’s office and Iowa Department of Public Health upon the scheduled return to school.

“We hope that everyone is staying healthy during this challenging time in our history,” Pottebaum said. “Please continue to practice good hygiene and the recommendations of the Iowa Department of Public Health.”