Stock photo

Stock photo

State to spend $24 million to purchase computing devices for students

COVID-19 relief funds for students still needing computers across Washington

Gov. Jay Inslee announced the allocation of $24 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds to purchase approximately 64,000 computing devices for students across the state.

These devices will enable students to receive their education in the new COVID-19 remote learning environment. The first shipment of 20,000 devices is expected in the coming weeks, according to a Oct. 30 Governor’s Office news release.

“Having their own device is vital to students and staff participating and succeeding in distance learning,” Inslee said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown challenges at every Washingtonian, especially working families and students — having the proper equipment to navigate their new educational reality shouldn’t be one of those challenges.”

At the beginning of the 2020–2021 school year, more than 95% of students in Washington began the year in remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the nine regional educational service districts, approximately 64,000 students and school staff statewide do not currently have their own computing device or tablet.

The governor, along with Educational Service Districts and OSPI, will work to identify which districts will receive the first shipment of devices in early November.

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the current manufacturing and global supply chain for computing devices is limited. Many districts that have devices on order have had their delivery dates pushed to six weeks, three months or more. And some districts just simply don’t have enough CARES Act or local funding to make all the purchases necessary. Bulk procurement on the part of the state will help to bring devices to Washington more quickly — and at a lower rate.

Devices must meet the needs of students and local districts, provide adequate technical specifications, and be available in the near-term at a competitive price. Due to the source of funding, devices must be received before the end of the year.

“With most of our students learning from home right now, one critical need has been access to technology,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. “Since last spring, school districts across the state have deployed hundreds of thousands of laptops and tablets to students so they can learn remotely. I’m grateful to the governor’s office for their partnership as we continue to close the digital divide.”

While having a device is necessary to participate in distance learning, connectivity to the internet also poses a barrier to participating in remote learning. To help meet this need, OSPI has allocated $8.8 million in CARES Act funds to buy internet plans for 60,000 families who cannot afford them. In addition, the state has set up more than 600 WIFI hotspots across Washington, with the governor reviewing proposals to further speed up the state’ path to universal broadband connection.




Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Northwest

File photo
Snow Lake, located near Snoqualmie Pass in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.
Washington releases new forest plan

It outlines ways the state will protect and maintain forest health.

King County Council has nine members who each represent a district. Courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County Council passes $12.59 billion biennial budget

King County Council on Nov. 17 passed a $12.59 billion biennial budget… Continue reading

Tim Eyman get in some last minute campaigning for I-976 in downtown Bellevue on the afternoon of Nov. 5, 2019. File photo
Eyman fights allegation he repeatedly broke campaign laws

In a lawsuit, the state accuses the prolific initiative promoter of getting kickbacks.

t
Inslee issues travel advisory for Washington

Joins Oregon and California governors asking residents to limit travel; self-quarantine

Stock photo
State to spend $24 million to purchase computing devices for students

COVID-19 relief funds for students still needing computers across Washington

The first part of Cascadia Paranormal Investigation's exploration of the Black Diamond Cemetery involved trying to find all the non-paranormal explanations for the phenomenon some people have reported at the site before sitting down with their arsenal of electronics to find any evidence of ghosts or spirits. Their investigation led founder Kyle Richmond to the resting place of Dr. Howard Botts and his wife, Phrania. Photos by Ray Miller-Still
Washington’s most haunted: Ghost hunters head to Black Diamond Cemetery

Cascadia Paranormal Investigations is a new research group.

t
Prices going up for Puget Sound Energy natural gas customers

COVID-19 pandemic increases natural gas prices

Stock photo
COVID-19 activity intensifying across Washington state

Higher rates in Western and Eastern Washington

Stock photo
800,000 ballots returned so far to King County Elections

55% of 1.4 million registered voters; turnout expected to hit 90%

Aaron Kunkler/staff photoAlvin Sweet is a resident of Martin Court in Seattle’s Georgetown neighborhood. Martin Court is a former motel which was transformed into a supportive housing complex two decades ago. New funding from King County’s Health through Housing ordinance could expand this type of program across the county.
King County wants to buy motels for emergency, affordable housing

The concept has proven results in addressing homelessness.

Stock photo
U.S. Senate committee report calls unfair practices by tech companies a threat to local news

Report shows total newspaper revenue will have dropped by nearly 70% by end of 2020