Chromebooks for families in need and Wi-Fi access for all are the combined goals of Pittsylvania County Schools (PCS) as plans for the 2020-2021 school year are developed.
“Planning during an active pandemic must be a fluid process for Pittsylvania County Schools," Division Superintendent Dr. Mark R. Jones said. "Instructional scenarios, including remote online learning, require both access to devices and to Wi-Fi. It is our hope that we are able to provide both to as many of students as we can."
With the approval of the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors, the Division has been allowed to utilize almost $1 million of its CARES Act funding to purchase Chromebooks as well as ten additional antennas for all of its elementary schools. Once completed, any student, parent or community member may use the guest network available from any of our school parking lots. The guest Wi-Fi will be available starting at 3:00 p.m. on weekdays and all day on the weekends.
“We are grateful to the Board of Supervisors for prioritizing education so the needs of our families may be addressed,” commented Dr. Jeffrey B. Early, Assistant Superintendent for Operations.
Early, who oversees the Information Technology Department, further explained that PCS will initially loan its existing inventory of Chromebooks to those families who have no device at home.
“This plan will expedite the check-out process so that the students who will be learning from home will be ready when the school year begins,” Early said. “We are currently ordering replacement Chromebooks so that students who are physically attending school will also have the equipment needed for learning."
The process for checking out Chromebooks has been developed, in keeping with both the instructional needs of the schools and the limited inventory available, and is as follows:
Grades 4-12 will be permitted to check out a Chromebook as it is more developmentally appropriate for older students to use these devices than younger students. The expectation is to reach families with access to the Internet, as devices without connectivity will not serve their intended purpose.
Only one device per household may be borrowed, so that as many families as possible are served.
Once the school’s inventory has been loaned out, no additional devices can be loaned until more arrive.
Schools will call parents when it is appropriate to make an appointment for a Chromebook checkout. Upon arrival, parents are requested to follow the school’s procedures. All parents will be asked to sign a form indicating they will be financially responsible for the device and in agreement to pay $280 to replace those which are damaged or lost. Parents also agree to return the Chromebook to the school when requested.
Parents may visit the Division web site for current information and updates regarding the reopening of schools at https://www.pcs.k12.va.us/reopening_schools.