Tucson Unified School District to distribute laptops, internet access to students amid school closures

TUSD to allocate funds for students' laptops

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Board members with the Tucson Unified School District voted Friday night to move funds in order to get devices to students without online access.

The school district made the shift after Gov. Doug Ducey ordered schools to close until April 10, 2020.

Many students within the district do not have access to computers or even internet. In fact, in a survey done by TUSD found that an estimated 5,500 devices were needed for high schoolers and an estimated 18,000 devices needed for kindergarteners to middle schoolers.

Teachers were also surveyed and it found that an estimated 650 teachers need laptops and around 250 teachers need internet access.

The board voted on a motion to approve a re-allocation of funds necessary to purchase and deploy digital devices to TUSD students and pay for 30 days of high-speed internet service.

The move was approved unanimously 5-0.

Right now, TUSD already has around 10,000 usable laptops. Their priority focus is on high school seniors and teachers.

Then the same approach will be applied for juniors, sophomores and freshman, in descending order.

The remaining inventory will be used for other students but it won’t be enough to cover it all. So, TUSD officials estimate they would need to purchase 18,000 devices, which would cost around $3.5 million.

TIMELINE:

• Deploy 2,000+ devices to highschool seniors and teachers on March 30 through March 31.

• Deploy 3,500+ devices for all other high school students the week of March 30.

• Purchase 12,000 Chromebooks for students in third through eighth grade.

• Purchase 6,000 tablets for kindergarteners through second graders.

• Estimated arrival of devices beginning week of April 6.

Senior Loaner Laptop Pick-up begins on Monday, March 30.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Loaner laptop must be picked up by a Parent/Guardian with a photo ID — students will not be distributed a laptop unless they are listed in Synergy SIS as legal self-guardian.

• Students must go to the high school they attend to pick up their laptops.

• Pick-up times are organized by the student’s last name.

  • Tucson High only:  A-L Monday, M-Z Tuesday
  • All other High Schools - Monday
  • A-F between Noon and 1pm
  • G-M between 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • N-Z between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
  • 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for those who cannot make their alpha-based time
  • Be sure the bring your photo ID and a pen to sign the form.
  • This is a drive-through pick-up. People are asked to stay in their cars to facilitate social distancing.
  • If you do not have a car or if you have any respiratory symptoms, please call 520-225-4800 and the district will work with you to make other arrangements. 
  • Limit two loaner laptops per household.

High school freshman through junior loaner laptop distribution will be posted on Monday, March 30.

Since it will take a few weeks to get these devices out, there will be paper-based workbooks for K-8th graders starting Tuesday, March 31.

Families can go to their nearest elementary school to pick them up.

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