NEW BOSTON— As remote learning becomes more necessary, so too does the need for technology. The South Central Ohio Educational Service Center, in New Boston, Ohio, has partnered with the Scioto County Commissioners to purchase more than 1,000 Chromebook laptops for local schools.
“I think it’s great because of the way that COVID has affected their ability to be in an actual classroom setting. This is really going to open things up for them,” said Scioto County Commissioner Mike Crabtree.
Scioto County received nearly $3.8 million from the federal government as part of the CARES Act to use throughout the community on coronavirus relief projects, to assist individuals and businesses affected by the pandemic. From that program the Scioto County Commissioners provided a $500,000 grant to assist local schools in the purchase of new Chromebook laptops. Each participating school district received a grant of $42,699 (Bloom-Vernon, Clay, Green, Minford, New Boston, Northwest, Portsmouth, Sciotoville, Valley, Washington-Nile, and Wheelersburg) and $30,311 to the South Central Ohio ESC.
“We are extremely grateful to the commissioners, not only for their generosity but the Scioto County Prosecutor’s Office also who helped write all the legal information we needed for the sub-granting. All the boards of education had to have special meetings to adopt this resolution in order to make everything correct. It was a true community effort,” said ESC Superintendent Sandy Mers.
Because many schools are operating virtual classrooms this year, laptops are difficult to find. Some orders might have taken three months, or longer, to fill. Working closely with CBTS in Cincinnati, the Educational Service Center was able to locate 1,191 laptops and had them delivered within two weeks, and coordinated the distribution to local schools.
“It’s thrilling for us to be able to provide these to the children of the county because it’s been hard times for them, and anything we can do to make their learning process easier on them and their teachers is just thrilling for us,” said Scioto County Commissioner Cathy Coleman.
To further assist students with remote learning, the ESC also distributed 60 mobile hotspots to local schools earlier this year to help provide Internet access in remote parts of the county. The Wi-Fi routers are installed on school buses or inside community buildings to create mobile hotspot areas where students can connect and access online curriculum.
“It’s so exciting to hear what this is going to do for our area schools. This wouldn’t have happened if there hadn’t been a CARES Act, and now the children are going to be able to do more at home with distance learning and hopefully keep up with their studies,” said Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis.
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