Schools in Salem will receive 1,500 new laptops

October 6 – SALEM, NH – A delivery of 1,500 new laptops and other equipment will be delivered to schools in Salem thanks to US bailout funding from the federal government.

Salem has learned he will receive $ 414,000 from the Emergency Connectivity Fund, a $ 7.1 billion program to help schools and libraries support communities nationwide during the pandemic. The first filing window, which closed on August 13, attracted applications from all 50 states.

Deborah Payne, deputy superintendent of business operations, said existing Chromebooks purchased in 2016 were “no longer eligible for support, so they had to be replaced or removed from service.”

In addition to laptops, Payne said the money bought three more wireless hotspots for Salem students without stable internet access at home. Forty more are currently in service.

“We have made the purchases and will be providing replacement Chromebooks to students this fall,” Payne said.

The district must pay $ 44,000 for Chromebook licenses, which were not covered by federal funding, according to Payne.

She explains that before the pandemic, there was a device for two students. The devices mostly stayed in school and were used in classrooms.

Some equipment lasted the duration of the pandemic year, when distance learning was an option in Salem, but “quite a few units” were due to be retired this year.

“We found that for some students, the home computer was shared with other family members, so they couldn’t use it anytime they needed,” Payne said.

For others, she said, the personal equipment was not able to handle the educational tools that a district-provided Chromebook could. Each device is also configured so that the district technology team can help students with issues remotely.

“These funds have enabled the district to replace these obsolete units so that each student has their own device to stay connected to school resources from home,” Payne said.

Congress authorized the Emergency Connectivity Fund under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. For eligible schools and libraries, reasonable costs for laptops and tables, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers and broadband connectivity are covered.

According to an online interactive map kept by federal officials, the total funding requests from New Hampshire are just over $ 5.5 million. Most of that was spent on equipment, with just under $ 400,000 requested for services.

The amount is only a fraction of claims from neighboring Massachusetts, according to records. A total of $ 61.4 million breaks down into $ 47.5 million in equipment requests and $ 13.8 million in services.

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