By Melinda Munson

Skagway Traditional Council (STC) gifted Skagway City School with a $60,000 grant to be “used to respond to COVID,” according to Tribal Administrator Sara Kinjo-Hischer.

“Covid money was eaten up almost immediately,” said Dr. Josh Coughran, school superintendent. Between new furniture that can be easily disinfected, deep cleaning of the building, hand sanitizers and masks, Coughran said the school’s pandemic budget quickly dwindled.

Skagway School used the STC grant to purchase two hands-free temperature kiosks which allow for distanced, rapid temperature checks as students enter school. The money paid for air purifiers for each classroom with enough replacement filters for a year, 120 stacking chairs and an extra carpet cleaning at Christmas break.

The funds also allow the school to offer families a $35 monthly credit towards internet service, which will be matched by Alaska Power and Telephone for a total of $70. The credit is available through the end of the school year and will prepare students to learn online should school be cancelled due to any additional cases of COIVD-19 within the community.

Coughran expects the school will eventually provide about $20,000 towards internet bills. He is grateful for STC’s contribution.

“They’re always looking for ways to help support us,” Coughran said.