Sitka High School students were evacuated outside Wednesday after staff learned of a bomb threat. Police found no threats inside and said in a press release the threat was a hoax. (KCAW photo/Karla James)
Sitka High School students were evacuated outside Wednesday after staff learned of a bomb threat. Police found no threats inside and said in a press release the threat was a hoax. (KCAW photo/Karla James)

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy has announced a mandatory closure for schools throughout the state until March 30th, in response to the covid-19 pandemic.

The announcement came late Friday afternoon (3-13-20), as Sitka’s schools recessed for Spring Break.

For the Sitka School District, that means vacation will be extended for a full week.

“That’s for students,” said co-assistant superintendent Phil Burdick, “My understanding that still will be work days for staff.”

Burdick says the district would use the extra week without students to come up with contingency plans on how to continue with classes remotely, in the event that the mandatory shut down is extended beyond the end of March. And he said plans are already in the works to deliver bagged lunches to students.

“If students come back after the 30th, then school will be going on as school goes on,” said Burdick. “If the school closure extends past that, then we will be able to offer some sort of education for students who can’t come to school.”

As of Friday afternoon (3-13-20), there are no confirmed cases of covid-19 in Sitka. Two individuals in the community are under investigation and have been tested, but test results have not been confirmed. One is a SEARHC hospital employee; both remain in isolation in their homes.

In addition to closing schools, Gov. Dunleavy issued other mandatory measures, including eliminating all visits to state prisons, and limiting visits to the state’s Pioneer Homes.