CUSD discusses Student Chromebook Project

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By Collin Breaux

Students at the Capistrano Unified School District received and worked individually on Chromebook laptops during the COVID-19 pandemic, a project that CUSD staff reviewed at a board meeting on Wednesday, July 21.

Chromebooks are becoming increasingly popular tools for students in school districts across the country. CUSD intended to give Chromebooks to students for school use before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the start of distance education during the health crisis has accelerated those plans.

“The CARES Act has really given us a fantastic opportunity to do just that,” said Sean Rozell, CUSD technology director, referring to funding sources.

As of July 2020, 35,000 Chromebooks were ordered and finally arrived in January 2021 due to excessive demand and global supply chain challenges. Kindergarten to Kindergarten students use touchscreen devices that mostly stay in the classroom, and all other grade levels are given personal computers that they can take home.

“There are actually a lot of political decisions that you have to cover. Some of them are basic, ”Rozell said. “Do they take them home during the summer?” And some of them are a little bit silly, in a way, can they personalize them and put stickers on them? “

High school and college students can expect to get Chromebooks early in the school year upon enrollment. The high schools will recover the Chromebooks of the graduates.

Optional device coverage is available to parents through a third-party insurer, at a cost of $ 20 per year.

“No one has to do it,” Rozell said. “For our socially disadvantaged students, typically identified by the Free and Discounted Meals Program, the district has covered that $ 20. They have that assurance provided to them.

Ongoing challenges include a five-year lifespan for devices, home internet service, and technical support.

“In the early days of distance learning during COVID, we provided hotspots because it was the fastest and easiest way to get out of the internet. It is not very profitable either. There are other ways, ”Rozell said. “There is the federal broadband emergency delivery program. This is a subsidized broadband access program that allows you to get a government grant. We provide all of our families with information on how they can register for this.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as editor of The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]

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