Simpson County School District students will come closer to modern technology as new Chromebooks are distributed.
The district took possession of the Chromebooks Monday of this week. The devices are set to be distributed the first week of November.
According to Misty Hannah, Associate Superintendent, the computers had to be logged into inventory at the county level before they were sent to the schools. Hannah said each school will be responsible for distribution to the students. Parents will be notified as to what the schedule for their individual school will be.
Each student will be required to have a district Chromebook and personal laptops and devices will not operate on the districts software programs.
Parents will be required to sign for the computers and the students will then be held responsible for the computers. In addition they will have to sign and acknowledge the district’s technology policy. The students will have to turn the computers in at the conclusion of each school year and the same computer will be re-issued at the start of the new school year.
The 3,800 computers, one for each child in the school district, as well as staff came with a price tag of $1.5 million dollars to the school district. The funding was made available through the state with Senate Bill 3304; which was in turn funded through CARES funding from the Federal Government.
There is a secondary program of additional Federal Funds that is making mobile hot spots available to areas of the county which are not properly served by the internet. This is being offered through House Bill 1788 which deals with broadband and extended wireless service that will help serve the needs of many students in the county. This program is being made available through areas that are served by C-Spire. According to Hannah, Simpson will have access to 1,000 hotspot devices.
Initially, there was a $25 per Chromebook non-refundable deposit required for each computer. Hannah says that will not be the case now however, students/parents will be responsible to sign for computer before they can be given to the students. Part of the requirement is responsibility of equipment. It also has to do with damage and responsibility of repair for damages. These computers do have insurance but they come with user liability.
The computers remain the property of the school district and can only be used for school related assignments. The computers will be loaded with a computer tracking software and in the event they are stolen or lost a report must be filed with local law enforcement. They can be logged off the system by the school district which would otherwise make them inoperable.