FULL FIELD – Bathtub toy ducks float down Granite Creek toward a finish line at Halibut Point Recreation Area Saturday afternoon during the annual Sitka Rotary Club duck race. First place, two Alaska Airlines round-trip tickets, were won by Ron and Leah Kari. This year all 3,500 ducks were sold by June 14. Money raised at the event is donated to dozens of Sitka non-profits. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Grab & Go Meals Off to A Good Start

Sentinel Staff Writer

The first day of free breakfast and lunch distributions by the Sitka School District “went really well,” District Co-assistant Superintendent Phil Burdick said today.

Monday was the first day of the program to provide the school meals that many students had relied on before schools were ordered closed on March 14 in response to the coronavirus disaster emergency.

By order of Gov. Dunleavy, Alaskan schools will remain shut at least through May 1.

Today was even busier than Monday at the food service line in the Sitka High School parking lot, Burdick said.

“The first day went really well. We were able to deliver nearly 200 breakfasts and lunches, and most of those were through the grab-and-go at Sitka High School,” Burdick said. “We delivered about 25 or 30 meals into the community. And by this morning, this number had doubled, so we are now delivering 65 meals this morning.”

The free meals are being made available to all young people up to age 19.

Burdick expressed thanks to Island Bus Co., the district school bus contractor, for delivering the food, as well as district lunch contractor NANA Food Services.

Chef Jo Michalski and her crew had not only the 300 meals set up for today but also had prepared for Wednesday distribution as well, Burdick said.

AmeriCorps volunteers in the schools and teaching paraprofessionals handed out the food  at the high school.

Burdick said that on Friday everyone will get four days worth of food to get them through the weekend.

He added that changes to the food distribution plan are in progress, but not final yet.

“We really want our students and families to stay safe, and so please abide by the (coronavirus) health mandates so we can come out of this from the other side without a case in Sitka,” he said.

The district also continues to work on its plans for distance learning during the school closure, Burdick said. 

“Every school yesterday (Monday) had an online meeting so that staff could talk about where they’re going to go and what they want to do,” he said. He said it was a learning experience for all involved. 


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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-6-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 1:25 p.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 28

Total statewide – 1,166

Total (cumulative) deaths – 16

Active cases in Sitka – 6 (3 resident; 3 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 12 (10 resident; 2 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 74.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website sitkasentinel.com. Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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