Classwork, communication daunting for million California students with no computers; more donations needed
Shift to distance learning amid COVID-19 poses challenges for Bay Area families
Maureen Naylor reports
In the Oakland Unified School District, there are roughly 17,000 students - out of a total of 50,000 including charter school students - who don’t have computers or WiFi, said Seth Hubbert, executive director of Tech Exchange, a nonprofit dedicated to "digital equity" that provides free and low-cost computers to schools.
Hubbert said there are another 8,000 students who might have one computer at home, but several siblings and parents who all have to share it.
Altogether, that's half of the students in Oakland public schools whose technology needs aren't currently being met at home, he said.
As of Friday, nearly six weeks after the shelter-in-place order, district data shows that 1,450 students still don't have computers and 3,340 students don't have internet access.
Some individuals, and companies including Hewlett-Packard and Salesforce, have donated monitors and money toward this effort, Hubbert said. But he said it's not enough.
That's why, Tech Exchange is actively fundraising to raise $2 million to buy about 4,000 more Chromebooks to fill this immediate gap, and trying to raise another $12.5 million more for long-term computer needs. Visit donate.techexchange.org to make a contribution today.
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