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Buffalo Schools to roll out laptops to students who need them

Next Tuesday, Buffalo Schools will start to issue laptops to students in grades 3 through 8, so they can continue their school work amid the coronavirus crisis.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Buffalo Public Schools are preparing to roll out hundreds, possibly thousands of laptops to students who don't have computer access, and still need to do school work during the coronavirus crisis.

Next Tuesday, April 14, Buffalo Schools will start to issue laptops to students in grades 3 through 8.

Last month, the district issued more than 7,500 laptops to high schoolers, giving you an indication on how great the need is.

And, there is very coordinated effort, already underway, to make sure this upcoming roll out goes smoothly. 

That starts with a letter home to families that the district says was sent out Wednesday, informing families with students in grades 3 through 8, where they can go and at what time, to pickup a laptop.

This is all about students continuing their education during the coronavirus crisis.

These are laptops already in schools, not being used because schools are closed. 

Behind the scenes, district personnel are busy getting the laptops ready.

"We're collecting them, we're collating them and we are sanitizing them before they get distributed," said Myra Burden, the chief technology officer for Buffalo Schools.

A reminder to families, they need to bring that letter they received in the mail, when they pickup their laptop. 

"We've strategized this in such a way that based on the time slots they've been given, by the next time slot that comes abou,t that wave should be out. So, we planned this strategically in order to minimize crowd gatherings," Burden said.

When families report to schools for pickup, they will be asked to follow social distancing guidelines and there will be sanitizer on site. 

"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," Burden said.

There is no plan right now to issue laptops to students from Pre-K to 2nd grade, those students will get instructional packets.

There is also a great need in providing internet access to students. 

Right now, families can request an internet hotspot, by taking a survey on the district's website.

At some point, the district will roll out more than 2,000 hotspots but there's a possibly more are needed, so the district has applied for emergency funding with the State Education Department to get more internet hotspots. 

If families can't make it this Tuesday, they're asked to call their school directly or the district's community help line at 816-7100, to set up another pickup time.

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