DES MOINES, Iowa– By the end of this week, nearly 21,000 laptops will have been provided to Des Moines Public School students as the district completes the school year through distance learning.
Wednesday and Thursday, DMPS will be giving 16,000 of those 21,000 computers to elementary and middle school students. These students indicated they needed a laptop to complete schoolwork in a recent Des Moines Public Schools survey.
Laptops will be available for pickup at every DMPS elementary and middle school and for students who need internet access, DMPS will also be dropping off mobile hotspots.
With 33,000 students in the district, Director of Communications, Phil Roeder, said it’s impossible to get a 100% response from all families. Therefore, DMPS staff have been personally contacting families who haven’t been responsive to scheduled technology drop-offs. Roeder says this process is new for everyone and the district and families are learning as they go.
“This is a classic case of the airplane has left the runway and we’re still putting on the wings,” Roeder said. “Each day there’s a new problem to be solved, a new question to be answered and it’s just an ongoing process for all of us in this line of work at this time.”
DMPS is currently working with Mediacom to help students get permanent internet connections for families in need. The I.T departments have been working overtime preparing around 30,000 computers in almost a two-week span. Bus drivers have also been helping out with technology drop-offs.
Roeder said it’s imperative to make sure every student has the necessary tools to complete the school year and possibly next school year as well.
“I don’t think any of us know for certain what the next several months hold. So if we come to the point next August where we need to continue our distance learning efforts, we’ll at least have the technology in the hands of all our students so that we can continue on in that way,” Roeder said.