WASHINGTON — DC Public School students start their school year virtually on Monday, Aug. 31, and according to Chancellor Lewis Ferebee the “vast majority” of students will have devices on day one.
The only reason Ferebee said it's not all students, is because only 32,000 families responded to the DCPS tech survey. School leaders say they are still trying to contact families they haven’t heard from, meaning device distribution will likely last into the first week of school.
Roosevelt High School in Petworth began handing out devices Tuesday. According to the Chancellor, the school system distributed 10,000 devices in the spring and now has 45,000 laptops and iPad -- plenty, he said, to meet the need.
Antonio Evans also picked up his daughter’s middle school supplies from Jefferson Academy for this second round of virtual learning on Tuesday. He said the process was smooth thanks to the help of a school administrator.
“She gave us more than I bargained for because we also got headphones, we got a Wi-Fi device," Evans said. "And [my daughter] was able to go into the school and pick up her clothes and stuff that she left in there throughout the year that she couldn't retrieve.”
But it appears some parents will have to wait. Ferebee said 60% of campuses – like Roosevelt – are currently passing out devices. The rest of the schools will be doing so soon he said.
“There's a database the school has that evaluates and monitors students who already have a device, need a device, and students we haven't heard from,” Ferebee said. "And we will continue to reach out to students we haven't heard from between now and the start of school.”
The Chancellor said students from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade will get laptops. Pre-K students will get iPads starting in September.
A hotline and tech support are available to families, and school leaders are in daily contact with Microsoft to make sure their platform – Microsoft Teams – runs without any glitches during virtual learning, Ferebee said. But should something occur, he said students will receive learning packets from their schools.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is inviting DCPS families to a telephone town hall Wednesday, Aug. 26 to discuss coronavirus and the start of school. Click here to RSVP.
For further resources and tips on virtual learning check out the new DCPS website #ReopenStrong.