Governor’s COVID-19 Learn From Home Task Force Provides Update on Distribution of Resources to Advance Equitable Access to Continuity of Education
First Wave of Dell Laptops Expected to Arrive in May; Delivery of Scholastic Book Packs Slightly Delayed, Will Arrive Week of May 4th
(Hartford) – The co-chairs of the Governor’s COVID-19 Learn From Home Task Force (LFHT), Superintendents Paul Freeman and Nate Quesnel, today provided an update on the shipment and distribution of the Partnership for Connecticut’s gift of 60,000 Dell laptops to high school students and the Nooyi family’s donation of more than 185,000 high-quality Scholastic book packs for PK-8 grade students in the state’s 33 Alliance Districts.
The LFHT was formed by Governor Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Miguel Cardona to lead the advancement of equitable access to high-quality learning content at home while classes remain canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The LFHT’s first task is the safe, efficient and timely distribution of the two philanthropic donations of critical learning materials to districts, students and families in greatest need. After reviewing and approving all Alliance District Laptop and Scholastic Applications, the LFHT has provided Dell and Scholastic with district contacts, final quantities, and shipping sites. Both vendors are currently coordinating with districts on logistical details.
Prioritization of Laptop Shipment (Round 1)
In regard to timing, the LFHT has implemented a tiered shipment plan for the 60,000 devices in three rounds of delivery based on a thoughtful, formula-based approach that prioritizes equity, student need, and safe distribution. The first wave of nearly 17,000 Dell laptops are expected to reach district identified shipping sites in May. In order to maximize the number of districts (19) receiving laptops - which are currently being built to arrive ready for immediate use - the first round of shipment will be devoted to shipping sites where fewer than 60 percent of students have 1:1 device access at the school level. The LFHT’s staggered shipment plan provides devices to nearly three-quarters of all shipping sites (i.e. 71 percent) so students in greatest need are connected as soon as possible.
Shipment and Distribution of Remaining Laptops (Rounds 2 and 3)
Districts that have been selected to receive a portion of available laptops in the next round of shipments have been asked to indicate their intent to “opt-in” by the deadline of May 1st. This will also signify their adherence to the LFHT’s recommended safety protocols. Once this occurs, a representative from Dell will reach out to districts to discuss product specifics and delivery logistics of the devices which are expected to arrive in July.
Initial eligibility in this program was limited to the high schools across the state’s Alliance District program. Once the needs were met for those Alliance high schools, eligibility expanded to include high schools beyond Alliance Districts where more than 40 percent of students qualify for free- or reduced-price meals (FRPM). The remaining 706 laptops are being proportionally distributed among all non-Alliance districts (except state-run districts) with at least 40 percent FRPM eligible students in Grades 9-12, based on the number of FRPM students in those districts. This approach maximizes the number of non-Alliance districts that will receive at least some laptops through this initiative (see the specific quantities designated for each non-Alliance district). Districts are encouraged to target distribution of these laptops to students most in need.
Scholastic Book Packs
While the 185,000 Scholastic book packs were scheduled to arrive on or around April 23rd, the LFHT informed districts last week that the shipments have been delayed slightly because of COVID-19 disruptions to the company’s warehouse operations. The book packs are now expected to arrive during the week of May 4th. Scholastic will be communicating with each district’s respective shipping location contact on their new estimated delivery dates. The quantities of Scholastic book packs for districts were supplemented with student enrollments in “programs” including pre-Kindergarten programs. As such, some districts will receive greater quantities of book packs than originally anticipated.
“The Task Force thanks all of our Alliance District superintendents and personnel for their responsiveness and cooperation as we work together to get these critical materials into the hands of our students. We are especially grateful to our donors and vendors for their commitment to working with us to get through this time of crisis without widening the disparity gaps facing our learners most in need,” said Co-Chairs Freeman and Quesnel. “While the delivery and distribution of these resources prioritizes the safety and well-being of our school communities, the ultimate goal of the Task Force is to ensure all students have equitable access to opportunities for success and continue to receive a high-quality education at home. To that end, we are already creating a framework to support Connecticut’s most under-resourced school districts with effectively employing remote learning methods that meet the needs of every student and minimize this disruption to PK-12 education.”
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