One of the more intriguing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic has been the changeover of board of education meetings from live, to electronic or remote, and back to live. When the pandemic began, state law in Ohio required public boards, including boards of education, to hold their meetings in person. In March 2020, the Ohio General Assembly passed HB 197, which allowed members of a public body to “hold and attend meetings … by means of teleconference, video conference, or other similar electronic technology” during the declared emergency, but not beyond Dec. 1, 2020, so long as the public was informed and could view meetings electronically.

Subsequently, HB 404 extended the authority to hold electronic meetings until July 1, 2021. HB 404 became effective on Nov. 11, 2020. The legislature has included language in the budget bill that would extend the authority to Dec. 31, 2021, which is still being considered. 

Therefore, all public school districts should be prepared to resume live board of education meetings on and after July 1, 2021. Furthermore, board members will no longer have the option of attending remotely and must physically be present at the meeting in order to included in the quorum and vote at meetings. If the State does enact an extension for electronic meetings, OSBA will inform our members immediately.

Posted by Van D. Keating on 5/27/2021