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Spokane Schools handing out more laptops to students

UPDATED: Tue., March 24, 2020

Spokane Public Schools plans to hand out 1,500 more laptop computers to students as the district tries to ensure students have materials to help with online learning amid the closures. (Spokane Public Schools)
Spokane Public Schools plans to hand out 1,500 more laptop computers to students as the district tries to ensure students have materials to help with online learning amid the closures. (Spokane Public Schools)

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Spokane Public Schools is making progress toward filling the need for more laptops in the wake of last week’s closures, the district said this week.

As of Monday afternoon the district has checked out 1,700 devices to families who lack them, with plans to hand out 1,500 more by the end of the week.

“We’ve made really quick progress,” Associate Superintendent Adam Swinyard said Monday.

Swinyard also noted demand has steadily declined since the laptop checkouts began March 17, the day after schools closed statewide in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the closure expected to last until at least April 24, it’s unclear how many more families will need laptops.

However, Swinyard was confident that demand would be met, thanks to initiatives toward greater laptop availability.

Connectivity is a more complicated issue. Of the 3,200 families who have applied for laptops, fewer than 200 said they lacked Wi-Fi access.

That number might increase as more families request laptops. The bigger question is how many families lack devices and laptops, but haven’t applied for help.

Laptops may be picked up at North Central and Rogers high schools and at the district’s technology support building at 4714 E. Eighth Ave.

Meanwhile, teachers are working toward building lesson plans that will supplement the paper lessons that went out March 16.

“We’re fortunate that in our district we have a really strong foundation of digital learning tools,” Swinyard said.

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