SCS begins distribution of nearly 100K digital devices for students

Updated: Aug. 3, 2020 at 5:10 PM CDT
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - The first of nearly 100,000 digital devices were handed out Monday. It marked the start of laptop and tablet deployment as Shelby County Schools is set to begin its school year all virtual.

In light of the pandemic, device pick-up works like a drive-thru. With tens of thousands of devices to hand out, workers are sticking to a strict schedule.

Shelby County Schools leaders are calling this moment historic. A pre-pandemic goal of the district was to move to a one-to-one technology plan. But COVID-19 forced that plan into action early.

“We are very grateful to have had the CARES Act funding,” SCS Chief of Communications Jerica Phillips said. “About $37 million is what we used for the internet and device purchases.”

In all, every student, about 95,000, will get a laptop or tablet for virtual learning. The district has 24,000 internet hot spots for families who do not have internet access.

On Monday, devices for middle schoolers and high schoolers were ready for pick up. Pick up for those devices will continue until Aug. 22 for high schoolers and Aug. 29 for middle schoolers. High Schoolers will get HP ProBook Laptops and middle schoolers and elementary schoolers will get Microsoft Go Tablets.

The handout worked in a drive-thru form, but many parents had to leave empty-handed for a variety of reasons -- everything from not having their child enrolled properly in the system to not following the deployment schedule.

“It’s a big day for us but not the first time we’ve done this type of distribution,” said Phillips. “Over the summer, we were able to provide devices to our summer school students and our summer learning academy.”

There are five places for device pick up. You can see a full list of distribution sites and deployment scheduled [HERE.]

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