California State Superintendent of Public Education Tony Thurmond released a plan Wednesday to get students back in public schools, and in order for certain requirements to be met, many students will continue to learn from home.
The guidelines for students to return to school include mandatory face masks, periodic temperature checks and smaller class sizes. In order to maintain smaller classes some students will need to continue digital distance learning. For that, Thurmond said the schools will need some help.
“Right now, we know immediately some 600,000 students are waiting for a computing device,” Thurmond said.
He’s called on companies, foundations and individuals to help bridge the digital divide.
At Evergreen Valley High School in San Jose a tech donation drive is part of that effort.
For some donors, the purchase of a new computer prompted the donation, while others credit the gift to spring cleaning.
“It was just lying around, we wanted to get rid of it,” said Sean Nguyen of San Jose. “We had an extra laptop so…”
Those donations are precious for students.
“Students were in McDonalds and Burger King parking lots, or staying at the library until it closed to access the free Wi-Fi,” said Charlene Tatis of San Jose’s digital Inclusion Partnership.
Under coronavirus lockdowns, the situation is worse. Those donated computers and tablets will be erased and refurbished to hand out to students.
About 15,000 students in San Jose still need take-home devices.