Amid the coronavirus pandemic, children in Antioch are receiving a much-needed tool to continue learning as they shelter at home: laptops.
Staff members at the Antioch Unified School District (AUSD) have been forced to become IT experts over the past week. They’ve put in time to reimage 2,800 laptops to get them ready to hand out to students who don’t have computers at home.
“We have been working nonstop throughout the weekend, throughout spring break to make sure that our families have what they needed,” AUSD Superintendent Stephanie Anello said.
Monday morning, staff members began handing out the laptops. Hundreds of families lined up in their cars for the curbside pickup.
Children and their parents said they’ve been anxious at home waiting to hear how and when instruction will resume.
“I really miss my school,” student Sayed Fakhri said. “I just want to go back. I just want to get everything over soon.”
Students said they are looking forward to reconnecting with their teachers and classmates. Being hunkered down at home without a laptop has been difficult.
“This is going to help me stay safe and quarantined," student Ahmilian Mcelveen said. "This is going to help me do be able to do my work and stay focused and get back on the right track."
As the district launches distance learning, it said no student will receive a failing grade during the pandemic. Students will get either a pass or no mark instead.
“It’s important for them to continue with education but no child who can’t participate because of stressors going on in the family will be penalized,” Anello said.
The district is handing out all the laptops it has, but it’s not enough. The district had to dip into its reserves to buy thousands more. It's also hoping for donations.