PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The School District of Philadelphia has received approval to purchase up to 50,000 Chromebooks so students can learn remotely while schools are closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Board of Education approved the school district’s $11 million request Thursday night.
A 2019 survey conducted by the school district found:
- 45% of students in grades 3-5 have access to the internet from a computer at home
- 56% of students in grades 6-8 have access to the internet from a computer at home
- 58% of students in grades 9-12 have access to the internet from a computer at home
Every School District of Philadelphia student who needs a Chromebook will receive one, according to the district, although the exact number of computers needed is not yet known.
“The digital divide in Philadelphia has been long standing, with many communities having
access to in-home computers and internet services for their children while many still do not,” Superintendent William Hite said. “This inequity is a significant barrier to our goal of
helping all students in every neighborhood reach their full academic potential.”
The school district and the City of Philadelphia continue to work together to create a list of WiFi mobile hotspots and low-cost internet options.
The Chromebooks are expected to be distributed to students in mid-April.
All Pennsylvania schools have been closed until at least April 6.