GREAT FALLS - In our continuing coverage on Blackfeet Nation’s two week stay-at-home order, school districts in the area have temporarily stopped their summer food programs after tribal officials found nine new cases of COVID-19 Sunday night.
Heart Butte School Superintendent Mike Tatsey said he decided on closing the district from Monday to Wednesday as a way of protecting community members from the virus while working on a new plan.
“We did it basically to step back and plan for what the next two weeks might look like as far as food delivery to our students,” said Tatsey.
More specifically, Heart Butte’s looking at stricter social distancing measures, including less physical contact between themselves and households, on top of using gloves and hand sanitizers.
“We’re delivering over 350 meals a day, and so in doing that we are coming into contact with several households and those households are coming into contact with our employees,” explained the superintendent.
However, Tatsey says he understands stopping meal deliveries on short notice will impact some families who rely on the service.
”I feel terrible about that, and I want to get it back in order as soon as we can. I had mixed feelings about shutting things down, but I really think we needed to be safe first rather than sorry,” he said.
Plus, Tatsey said the district has cancelled its summer school program as a result of Sunday’s announcement. Instead, they're looking towards other options.
“That’s also going to be a part of talks with my principal and some of the school board members about what will be best for our students,” said Tatsey.
Early Monday morning, Browning Public Schools announced a similar move on Facebook, closing the district and its summer feeding program in the short term before resuming it Tuesday using ‘Grab and Go’ delivery times:
Breakfast: 8:30 to 10:00 am
Lunch 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
Supper Program 4:30 to 7:00 pm
According to BPS Superintendent Corrina Guardipee-Hall, meals will go towards families with students under the age of 18 in the following areas:
Skate Park, Vet and College Homes and those in North & South Glacier
Treatment Center and sites around hospital housing, Mountain View, Death Row, Horse Shoe Loop and Nurse Creek Road
Swimming Pool and places surrounding Moccasin Flat, 700 and 600 bloc
BMS Line Up by China Town, including 1400, 1300 and 1200
Femaville and Star School