The Delaware City Schools Technology Department, like the rest of the district, had to make changes to accommodate needs of students and staff during the pandemic. Now, it operates nearly 1,000 new devices to keep up with needs within the district.
Jennifer Fry, chief technology officer for the district, said Friday that prepandemic, the district was using approximately 3,700 devices like Chromebooks and 30 hotspots, which allow students to access the internet at home.
Fry said the pandemic’s arrival and the district being forced to take all education remote posed a challenge for the department.
“One of the biggest challenges for the technology department since the pandemic has started is supporting families with their home technology issues,” Fry said. “Our team has established a family helpdesk to address the issues as quickly as possible. Additionally, we are coordinating with our vendors, who provide technology and curriculum resources, to make adjustments to their products and services to ensure they work for our staff during the various learning models.”
Fry said the district used the 30 hotspots during the remote learning portion in spring 2020, and local families were also able to take advantage of local cable companies’ free broadband services for a time.
However, the cable companies’ free internet services did not last, Fry said, so the district now provides internet access via hotspots to over 230 families.
“Many of these hotspots have been provided through the Central Ohio Broadband Access Pilot Program, a partnership of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, PC’s for People, and the ESC of Central Ohio,” Fry said.
Similarly, the district was able to purchase 970 Chromebooks with CARES Act funds, Fry said, adding some of these devices were purchased with CARES Act money provided by the City of Delaware.
Fry said the district is now using 4,580 devices like Chromebooks and iPads, and it utilizes more than 230 hotspots. She added students at the high school can elect to bring their own devices but are also able to check out a Chromebook from the library.
“No matter the learning model, hybrid or remote, having a reliable device and access to the internet is imperative for our students,” Fry said. “Distributing these devices and hotspots has been critical in helping our students access learning during the 2020-2021 school year.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.