Poway Unified distributes laptops to students as ‘distance learning’ begins


POWAY, Calif. — Schools remain closed, but the school year is not over.

Because of California’s stay-at-home order, students are preparing for “distance learning.”

To help students adjust to this new phase, the Poway Unified School District is making sure students have access to technology. On Thursday, staff at all schools in the district passed out laptops so students can keep up with their classroom curriculum at home.

The distribution took place one day after Gov. Gavin Newsom said all California schools will remain closed through the end of the school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It allows students to communicate directly with their teacher. Teachers can post lessons, discussion boards — there are multiple ways to communicate with their teachers through that process,” Poway High School Principal Richard Nash said.

Poway Unified – which includes more than 36,000 students – expected to distribute around 6,000 laptops.

“A lot of what they’ve been doing at school by being on these devices on a daily basis will ease the transition into distance learning at home,” said Jennifer Burks, the district’s associate superintendent of technology and innovation.

Families in need of the devices had to fill out a form ahead of time to pick them up. “(It’s) really great they’re offering this to us — especially since we’re not going to be in school for so long,” one student said.

The laptops are packaged and disinfected before they’re handed out.

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