By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia students return to classrooms next week and that means it’s time to make sure all their gadgets are in working order. The Philadelphia School District is now working to repair thousands of Chromebooks.

“You know the family leaves happy every time they come in here,” technician Vanessa Ramos said.

Happiness awaits at Philadelphia Schools’ Technology Centers where Chromebooks are repaired day in and day out.

“70% of our problems are screens,” Ramos said. “They have the computers all day with them. They go to the bathroom with them. They do everything with them. It’s become a 24-hour tool to these kids.”
After being virtual or hybrid for all of the last school year, schools will be in-person this year. At the district’s three technology centers they are offering free, on-site repairs for Chromebooks.
“We want to make sure that the computer turns on. That the microphone works, that the camera works, the screen is working and the keyboard is functional,” Director of IT Field Support Ed Detrich said.
For Krystal Miller who is going into the 11th grade this year at South Philly High School, her issue is no Wi-Fi.
“There’s someone to help you,” Miller said. “Instead of being like, ‘Oh, it’s broken, so, I don’t have anyone to go to fix it.'”
The district has issued over 130,000 brand new Chromebooks to students. To date, they’ve repaired 29,000 of them.
“Sometimes when we’re taking them out, it could be juice, sticky stuff in there, food,” Ramos said. “These kids are nonstop with these tools, it’s become like a phone. I’m not lying.”
If the Chromebooks can’t be repaired, a refurbished computer will be issued. And while the technicians are there as a service for the students, swapping out screens and fixing other issues, there’s also some friendly competition.
“It takes about five minutes,” Ramos said. “Sometimes we’re in competition, but not today.”
Here is a statistical look regarding the number of Chromebook repairs at the three technology centers: 
  •  Total number of student Chromebook repairs beginning July 7, 2020:  28,900+ repairs between the three repair centers
  • Total number of weekly repairs between the three sites: 836 repairs total
  • Total number of weekly repairs at each site: 60+ repairs per day average at each site
  • A total number of weekly device swaps between the three sites: on average 340 devices swapped each week.
  • Total number of Chromebooks that were returned to 440 that could not be repaired at the tech centers that were later repaired and used as refurbished device swap outs: 12,853

Chromebook Consumables 

  • Total number of LCD replacements weekly between the three sites: 230
  • Total number of charger replacements weekly between the three sites: 150
  • Total number of battery replacements weekly between the three sites: 75
More information on the technology centers and their services can be found here.