MEMPHIS, Tenn — The daunting task to distribute 95,000 digital devices to students begins Monday as Shelby County Schools prepare to begin the school year with virtual learning.
The process to distribute the devices is expected to take weeks to do. High school and middle school students will be the first to receive the devices.
What kind of device students will get will very by their grade but all will receive a hot spot for internet if it's needed. The district expects a quarter of students will need a hot spot.
Preschool through 8th grade will get tablets and ninth through 12th will receive laptops. Grades 3rd to 8th grade will receive a keyboard to accompany the tablet.
Connecting SCS students with digital devices was a plan envisioned by the district in 2019 and was accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The district was able to buy the devices using funding from the CARES Act.
Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray said, in his weekly district update, that these devices will be a game changer especially when learning can return to normal.
“Think about this Shelby County, in the next two months, we will have successfully closed the digital divide for our students," he said. "It’s a paramount journey to one on one, 21st century technology and project based learning that changes the landscape of how we educate students even beyond our thoughts and dreams for re-imagining 901."
To pick up a device at the assigned date, time and location, a parent must have a photo ID. Only the parent or guardian listed in PowerSchool can pick up the device.
Click here to view the distribution schedule.
All devices come with a durable case to try and prevent damage from being an issue but if damage happens and it's found to be due to negligence, the parents may be found responsible for the costs.
If lost, parents will have to pay a $75 fee to replace it. A police report will also have to be filed it it's lost.
The district also set up a hotline for parents to call if they need help setting up the device. The number to call is 416-5300.
Students will also be taught how to responsibly use the devices and how to stay safe online, the district said.
A full Q&A about the devices was put together by the district here.