Pawhuska Schools authorized to continue free meals

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Pawhuska Public Schools learned last week it had received authorization to continue serving student meals free of charge through June 30.

Superintendent David Cash said the authorization came from the federal government, through the state of Oklahoma. It builds on a previously announced authorization to serve meals to students without charging them or their families.

The school system initially announced in September that all student meals would be served free of charge. The financial support for student meals is seen as an important element of governmental assistance for families with children in school during the current health crisis.

"That's a big deal," Cash said regarding the extension of the free-meal authorization. "It's been a blessing."

Cash said the Pawhuska school system is continuing to closely monitor patterns of illness among students and staff. Some individuals were on quarantine status in regard to possible COVID-19  exposures, but classes were continuing. Cash said concerns about COVID-19 have kind of accentuated the normal concern this time of year about illness, and he said students are handling the pressure of the health crisis well.

"They've handled it better than anyone," he said. "I've seen them making more mature assessments and decisions."

Even with the ongoing COVID-19 health event, Pawhuska Public Schools has been able to continue holding classes and continue with community activities throughout the fall semester. The school district is scheduled to host a state semifinal football game on Friday evening.

Other schools in the area have similarly been able to continue with academic and community activities. Barnsdall, like Pawhuska, has had a full football season and has held classes. The school districts are now making transition to winter sports activities that are generally held indoors.