SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — The Shelby County School district rolled out its timeline for handing out 95,000 digital devices and accessories for this fall.
District staff said they will distribute devices based on grade level starting with high school starting August 3.
There will be more than 28,000 new tablets, cases and screen protectors for Pre-K to second grade, 42,000 new tablets with keyboard for third through eighth grade and almost 25,000 new laptops and cases for 9th through 12th grade.
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District staff said parents will be able to pick up the devices as six locations throughout the city.
“This also saves us cost for 24-7 security, so we know that while we’re in the process of deploying these devices that we would have to have these devices secured so rather than securing it at a 100 plus locations. It’s more cost-effective for us to do it at a minimum number of locations,” said SCS Chief of Staff Patrice Thomas.
When parents arrive to pick up devices, Thomas said the process will be similar to a drive-thru line.
“Team members will approach the vehicle with handheld devices that will have the PowerSchool information in there. It will have the parent user agreement that parents can sign electronically and at that time the family will be handed their devices,” she said.
Students in middle and high school will receive their laptops first.
Additionally, the district will give out 24,000 hotspots to families who are considered economically disadvantaged.
Staff said one hotspot can be used by up to five students.
But board member Stephanie Love said that may not enough especially since some families are still struggling to get unemployment or haven’t gotten their jobs back because of the pandemic.
“Just by looking at the numbers that you have and not taking into consideration what’s taking place right now, I just feel that we’re going to be in a position where when it’s time for everyone to log on, we’re going to have those parents who most definitely, the children won’t be able to log on because they will not have internet access,” said Love.
Superintendent Joris Ray said they will remain flexible throughout this process so if a parent’s situation changes and they need additional technology like a hotspot, they’ll readjust.
Additionally, some elementary students may start the year using loaner equipment from the district until their new technology comes in.
If students lose their assigned laptop, SCS said parents must file a police report and give the report to the child’s school.
Parents will be charged $75 the first three times the laptop is missing.
However, the fourth time the laptop is missing, parents will be responsible for the full cost of replacing the laptop.
If the laptop gets damaged, parents will be responsible for the cost of fixing it if negligence is involved.
For more details, visit SCS’s website.
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