Many Hempstead families still awaiting laptops for virtual learning weeks into new school year

With multiple weeks down in the new school year, parents in Hempstead say their kids still don’t have access to laptops they need for online learning.

Many parents and students are feeling extremely frustrated with the lack of help, including Tyanne Carlos, who has been trying to help her granddaughter navigate distance learning without a laptop.

“She doesn’t do the work, she can’t graduate, and I’m not going to have the school penalize her for the things that they couldn’t do that they were supposed to do,” says Carlos.

Out of the 6,400 students in Hempstead School District, roughly half of them received laptops so far. The ones who didn’t receive them will be getting paper packets with assignments sent to their homes.

The school district says they’re supposed to receive a shipment this week.

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Spotsylvania supervisors debate funding for school laptops | Education

School officials consider the laptop expenses to be COVID-19 related, but instead of using a share of federal funding, they are now forced to ask supervisors for county money to cover the cost.

County schools were awarded $2.385 million in federal CARES funds. Private schools in the county were given nearly $133,000 of that funding.

According to a School Board presentation, the school system plans to use its CARES funds to help cover just more than $2 million preparing schools and buses, while $250,000 is slated to help with staff child care and $100,000 is set aside for “internal services.”

Baker said the school system provided 2,000 laptops to students for distance learning at the end of last school year, but said more students will need the devices.

He and other officials also told supervisors of the School Board’s plan to use bonds to provide Chromebook laptops for all students.

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