Paraprofessional Tanna Bartlett and Americorps volunteer Abbey Rothfeldt help manage 300 grab-and-go meals at the Sitka High School on Tuesday. Starting Friday, the schedule will change: Four meals can be picked up for the weekend, and the table will be staffed again next Tuesday. March 31, 2020. (KCAW photo/Berett Wilber)

The Sitka School District is serving up breakfast and lunch seven days a week beginning on Friday (3-27-20) — but the pickup of those meals will be on just two days each week.



Note: Take the Sitka School District survey and apply for Grab and Go meals. Delivery options are available.


District co-assistant superintendent Phil Burdick says pickup will remain 8:30 A.M. to 12 P.M. at Sitka High School, but on Friday students will be handed four days’ worth of meals.

He says the district is coordinating with a local food relief program, and seeking a federal waiver in order to keep the district’s food service running seven days a week during the coronavirus emergency. 

“So we’re able to get reimbursed for these meals,” said Burdick. “We’re also hoping to work with Blessings in a Backpack and support them in their distribution. They’ve been an organization that has given meals that have gone through the weekends for families in need in the past. So we’re still working out how to work with them to supplement our school meals.”

The next pickup day will be Tuesday morning, March 31, 8:30 A.M. to 12 P.M., and students will receive meals to last through Friday. Again, it’s not going to be gourmet cuisine — just solid nutrition.

“A lot of it is food that is shelf-stable,” said Burdick. “Cereals, fruit. Of course, any milk that is picked up will need to be put in the fridge. But we’re looking at some food that will probably need to be put in the fridge.”

Breakfast and lunch will be available for pickup from 8:30-12:00 daily at SHS through Thursday March 26.

On Friday, March 27, four days’ worth of meals will be provided.

The next meal pickup will be Tuesday, March 31. Three days’ worth of meals will be provided.

After this week, meals will be provided twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday, three or four days’ worth of meals at a time.

Meals may be picked up at SHS from 8:30-12:00 or limited delivery is available by emailing or calling 747-8622.

Meals are FREE to all SSD students, Wooch.een/Head Start students, and any youth under the age of 19 in the same household. All families with an economic need are encouraged to participate.

The meals are available to any student under age 19. The Friday-Tuesday schedule will be the plan for a while. The district has a survey for families to fill out, that serves as an application for the meal program. The survey also is a way to let the district know how it can best deliver distance education over the coming month.

Burdick says the schools and teachers are working on this right now.

“Some schools have their plan — their rough plan (again every plan that we’re in right now is always subject to change) — in place for connecting with families,” he said. “My third grade teachers have already connected with us as a family to say, Hey things are going to be different.”

And while there are no students in the buildings, schools themselves are not closed. The week of March 23rd was designated an in-service week by the governor, so teachers are in their classrooms. Burdick says everyone else is working diligently too.

“We’re defining what is an essential service,” said Burdick. “So Food Service, we’re doing that essential service. Maintenance is an essential service. We need to keep our buildings up. So they’re out and about. IT is an essential service. So Ian (Crane, IT director) has been a rock star in helping staff get ready for this new, virtual world that we’re entering next week. And custodial has been doing deep cleaning throughout the district. With this extended break they’re having an opportunity to get to some of the projects that they never had time for in the summer.”

The next step is ensuring that the public still has access to the school board. On Tuesday, March 24, the Sitka Assembly met in remote session using Zoom; Burdick says the school board is planning to do something similiar using GoToMeeting. Use this link to join the special meeting on Thursday (3-26-20) and this one to watch and listen to Friday’s (3-27-20) budget work session.