State sends laptops to help rural students with remote learning

Man using a modern laptop for booking hotel online. Tour reservation
Florida's schools are closed through at least May 4.

With Florida’s schools closed through at least May 4, the state is sending more than 32,000 laptops to rural and small communities to help students participate in remote learning programs.

“Today’s announcement speaks volumes about how the Department of Education, our school districts and our teachers are coming together to ensure Florida students have the resources they need to continue their education through the COVID-19 crisis,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said Saturday.

“Florida is truly raising the bar for distance learning.”

Those devices will be distributed as part of a partnership with the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium, Northeast Florida Educational Consortium and Heartland Educational Consortium.

It’s unclear whether schools will remain closed beyond that May 4 date. The state shut down K-12 schools in mid-March amid concerns about the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Schools districts then converted to teaching students via remote learning. But that left some students — who may not have access to a computer or the internet — in the dark.

That problem has been allayed at the local level in some areas. Both Broward and Miami-Dade counties handed out thousands of remote learning devices to help students in their respective counties.

Now, Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran says the state is stepping in as well for counties that may not be able to foot the bill for those devices.

“I am grateful for the work that all 67 county school districts did to implement their distance learning plans by March 30, and I’m equally grateful to support these students in districts that lacked the resources to fully equip their students and teachers for success,” Corcoran said.

“Nearly all of these students are low-income students, and Florida making the extra effort to fight for these students is another example of how Florida never relents in the fight to close achievement gaps.”

State Board Chair Andy Tuck also added remarks Saturday in support of the state’s decision.

“I am grateful our staff at the Department were able to quickly identify funds and work with Florida’s educational consortiums, whose membership is made up of smaller rural districts that often need help consolidating resources, and determine the gaps in device accessibility for students, many of whom are low income and in need of this critical support.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].

One comment

  • Christopher Thurow Sr

    April 11, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Well the sentiment is good but what are they going to connect to? There’s no Internet in rural areas. It’s like getting a 96″ plasma TV but not having any electricity.

Comments are closed.


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