First Student employees and Juneau School District food services supervisor Adrianne Schwartz, left, carry student meals off the bus they’re being distributed from near Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé March 16, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

First Student employees and Juneau School District food services supervisor Adrianne Schwartz, left, carry student meals off the bus they’re being distributed from near Juneau-Douglas High School: Kalé March 16, 2020. (Michael S. Lockett | Juneau Empire)

Juneau School District distributes student meals as schools shuttered

The coronavirus has forced the school district to react quickly.

Distribution times for meals have changed since this article was originally published.

Scheduled times on weekdays through March 27 are as follows: 8-11 a.m. at Harborview Elementary School, Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School, Riverbend Elementary School, Glacier Valley Elementary School and Floyd Dryden Middle School.

Meals will also be distributed 8-10 a.m. at Gastineau community school and 10-11 a.m. at the Cedar Park Apartments. Food is available for any student at any location.

A closure for Alaska public schools began Monday and is scheduled to last until March 30. Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the measure and restrictions on visitors to other state-run facilities Friday.

[Schools closed until March 30, Gov says]

“Today is our test run,” said JSD food service supervisor Adrianne Schwartz. “We’ll have a better idea of how many students need food and where.”

The distribution is the result of a rapidly assembled partnership between First Student, NANA Management Services, and JSD. NMS prepares the food at TMHS, before Student First buses and personnel take it to the distribution points around town where families can pick it up.

“I think we served 350 meals today,” Schwartz said. “I would anticipate that when word gets out, we’ll be distributing 500.”

That number is itself somewhat deceptive, Schwartz said. With 350 students being served, 700 total meals actually went out, as each student is simultaneously served breakfast and lunch.

“Thankfully, we can provide both meals at the same time,” Schwartz said. “The biggest challenge is that most of the food we currently have in our inventory is good for being served on site.”

Schwartz said that as long as Juneau keeps receiving resupply from Seattle, they’ll have no problem providing meals for the duration of the crisis.

Even if the barges stop, they’ll be able to resupply by air, though that will cost more, Schwartz said.

• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757.621.1197 or

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