coronavirus

Jenny Neyman/KDLL

Enrollment is down 18 percent at Kenai Peninsula College this fall.

Last year, there were 2,072 students enrolled in the fall semester, 174 of whom were taking classes full time. This year, there are 1,729 students enrolled, 121 of whom are full time. Students are also taking fewer classes this semester — enrollment by credit hours is down by 20 percent.

There are a few reasons for that dip, said President Gary Turner. 

Sabine Poux/KDLL

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly will ask the state to count the number of students enrolled in the school district last year, rather than this year, to determine how much funding the district will get in the 2021 fiscal year.

The assembly voted unanimously to put forth the recommendation at its meeting Tuesday.

Sabine Poux/KDLL

It’s Spirit Week at Kenai Central High School. Which is fitting, since students are particularly excited to be back in class this year.

“I think everybody is so glad to be back here,” said high school junior Katie Stockton. “So many people don’t like the remote learning. It just gets hard, it’s a lot more difficult to motivate yourself to do it.”

Stockton and her peers have just completed their first full week back at school in over six months and their third week of school this school year (the first two were remote).

Schools in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District opened their doors back up last Tuesday because of reduced COVID-19 rates across the peninsula. Now, students can engage in the parts of high school that have been impossible to recreate over Zoom, like hallway socializing and after-school activities.


 

Residents Kenai and Soldotna with income affected by COVID-19 can get help with their rent or mortgage payments through the end of the year.

The cities are partnering with the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to localize an assistance program AHFC started this summer.

City residents can apply for up to $1,200 each month, to be paid directly to the mortgage holder or landlord. The relief amount will be the lesser of the household’s drop in income or whatever their housing payment is each month. It’s for households that earn less than 80 percent of the median area income. For the Kenai Peninsula Borough, that’s $71,760. Households must be able to show income has been negatively affected by COVID.

“Their income has to have been impacted by COVID 19,” said Laura Rhyner, assistant to the Soldotna city manager. “So, either they’ve lost employment or they had a reduction in hours. Or maybe they had to leave work to stay home and care for kids that aren’t able to attend school — something like that.”

Businesses and nonprofits hoping to mitigate the financial hit from the coronavirus pandemic got disappointing news last week — the $290 million Alaska CARES grant program has been “oversubscribed.” Meaning, the amount of grant requests still waiting review is greater than the amount of money left in the program.

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