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Buffalo Schools issuing laptops to elementary, middle school students

Hundreds, potentially thousands of them could be given out, all so students can continue to do their schoolwork amid the coronavirus crisis.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo School District is rolling out laptops to elementary and middle school students who need them.

Hundreds, potentially thousands, of them could be given out so students can continue to do their schoolwork amid the coronavirus crisis.

The district says these laptops were sanitized before they were given out.

Families were asked to bring the letter the district mailed out to them last wee, when they went topick up a laptop. That way, the district could confirm which students got laptops.  

2 On You Side found a pretty good turnout at some schools, like at Southside Elementary School. Students in Grades 3 through 8 can get a district-issued laptop, if they don't have computer access at home.

Last month, more than 7,500 laptops were issued to high schoolers in one day. 

"It is a huge lift because we want to be very precise in terms of one making sure we target the needs of the district based on the needs of the district," said Myra Burden, the district's chief technology officer. 

Currently, there is no plan to issue laptops to students from Pre-K to the 2nd grade. Those students will get instructional material from school. 

If families with elementary or middle school students were not able to pickup a laptop Tuesday, the district asks that they contact their school principal or the Buffalo Schools Community Help Line at 716-816-7100, to schedule another pickup time. 

Buffalo Public Schools have been in the process of getting laptops to thousands of kids who need them, to continue their education. The district is also trying to make sure students have internet access.

According to a spokesperson with the state Education Department, the state has completed its review of the district's proposal in getting emergency funding to buy more than 20,000 hotspots for students. 

The proposal now goes onto other members of the state's Smart Schools Review Board and state Ed says it expects the proposal to pass when the board meets next.

But, we do not know when that meeting will take place and we're having a hard time finding any type of public schedule online. 

Right now, Buffalo Schools is offering a survey online to assess the need for how many kids don't have internet access. 

"We are trying to do our very best to target the need for internet access so that we make sure that those who actually need the hotspots are the ones that are getting it," Burden said.

The district says it has more than 2,000 internet hotpsots ready to go, but more may be needed. 

That's why the district has put in that request with the state to get more. 

When hotspots are rolled out, the district will start with high schoolers and students who are in AP.

We haven't been given a date on when that will happen.

In Lackawanna, Global Concepts Charter School has announced that it will provide Chromebooks for all of its students in grades K-12 this week. School District CEO Tracy McGee says in a statement, “We embrace that the COVID-19 crisis has propelled us into a world of more virtual teaching learning and we believe that now is the time to invest in our students and families to ensure that they have the opportunity to access digital material and online instruction."  

Global Concepts Charter families can pick up Chromebooks Wednesday, April 15 10am - 12pm, Thursday, April 16 9am - 2pm, and Friday, April 17 9am - 2pm. 

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