Chromebook rollout 1

A Loudoun County Public Schools Department of Digital Innovation staffer hands a new Chromebook to a local parent at Brambleton Middle School in Ashburn Wednesday.

The distribution of more than 11,400 Chromebook computers to Loudoun County Public Schools students began Wednesday in a drive-by pickup event at Brambleton Middle School in Ashburn.

LCPS ordered the new devices earlier this month in order to support distance learning prompted by the COVID-19 health crisis and, in turn, accelerate its planned three-year dissemination of Chromebooks to all students in grades 3 to 12. The purchase totaled about $5 million, according to LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams.

"Prior to now, heading into this year, we'd already rolled out about 54,000 Chromebooks to students, and so with the distribution of approximately 12,000 in the next week or so, we'll complete that rollout," he said. "There's no substitute for face-to-face instruction, but we think it's important to provide learning opportunities for our students during the closure period."

Wednesday's drive-by operation took place in the BMS kiss-and-ride area. The rollout is expected to take seven to 10 days and will be executed at several other school buildings throughout the county. Williams said parents to children who do not yet have a Chromebook and are not sure of where or when to pick one up should contact their child's school principal.

Members of the LCPS Department of Digital Innovation, wearing either face-masks, protective gloves or both, greeted families and distributed the devices while recipients remained in their vehicles. Those personally handing the computers to students and parents maintained maximum personal distance, stretching their arms as far as possible.

"I am thrilled that Digital Innovation has pulled this off," said Williams, who lent a hand in the distribution efforts Wednesday afternoon. He said DDI staff will spend the period following the rollout educating teachers and principles on how to best employ the newly available technology in distance learning efforts.

When asked whether impediments to curriculum will hinder students from advancing to the next grade in the 2020-2021 school year, Williams said LCPS is "very optimistic that the state and federal government will be providing flexibility for our students to move forward for a normal grade progression."

More information on the district's COVID-19 preventive measures is available at lcps.org/COVID19.

Chromebook rollout 2

LCPS Superintendent Eric Williams lends a hand in distributing the newly purchased devices.

(33) comments

maya13

I love how people who aren't in education like to make assumptions as to why things are or aren't happening. Teachers and students don't know how to operate in a synchronous environment, and there are so many things that could go wrong. And the "they have figured out how to do it here" argument is getting old. How do you know they have figured it out? Just because they say so? How do you know it's going well? How do you know what they are doing is right? One local school system has transitioned to new online learning- they have 5 schools and 2,500 students. That's how a lot of school divisions across the nation are set up. It would be nice if people could offer some grace right now instead of judgment.

Wahoowah

And the most needy - the people of Ashburn - pulled up in their a Range Rovers and Tesla’s to get Chromebooks. Then went to Giant to hoard more toilet paper.

amerigirl

There is toilet paper at giant? You should have led with that! Sorry, I needed a break form the seriousness.

Rocket

The comments here show such a short sightedness. I mean does anyone here really have an understanding what LCPS is dealing with here. They are dealing with a new situation. I feel pretty confident that the individuals complaining would be in way over their heads is trying to deal with what LCPS is doing right now.

I would even be willing to bet, there are LCPS employees working way harder for less money than most people sitting at home right now doing next to nothing.

vaminuteman

You're 100% right

DavisB

LCPS is telling teachers that they are not allowed to set up live, video meetings with groups of students because of liability issues. Students need and are asking for this direct contact with teachers yet LCPS chooses to wait until they can craft rules and regulations to protect the schools.

LoudounBornandRaised92

I think it makes complete sense. It is a liability issue. What if someone starts recording without consent or knowledge of others? That's very real and that has happened in this county with parents trying to sneak recorders into various different meetings. There's plenty of third-party software out there that will record and not let anyone know they are being recorded. They're doing their due diligence to cover liability as best as they can.

DavisB

I understand the questions of liability but so many other school districts across the country and across the world have figured this out - and not just for the current crisis but way before that - time to let kids who can get back to school and to let teachers teach - we don't have to wait for a perfect solution that covers everyone in every situation

amerigirl

DavisB, go back to school? Have you been reading these articles, there are teachers with the virus and 1 died. Is it worth putting everyone at risk?

amerigirl

There are programs that the students can only see the teachers but the teachers have each child in a small square. Why do you think they were waiting? They seem to be pulling it together pretty fast since Northam only announced they would close for the rest of the year 4 days ago. Feels like a lifetime ago!

DavisB

A-girl - some teacher and some student are ready to go - why not let them do what they can? If we follow your lead, we will wait for the perfect moment that will never come and never do anything.

The question is if LCPS will allow teachers to hold synchronous sessions with students. As of now, no - despite so many other schools that are doing this and which have been doing this for years

amerigirl

Davis, who is ready to go back into a crowded classroom? Do you believe that they can stay 6ft. apart? It looks like we are just beginning our upward swing in Virginia. They are doing what they can with online teaching. I believe that synchronous sessions are the plan from what I have read and been told. But they need to be able to reach the students which is what they are working on now. Let’s just hope they don’t get too far behind.

DavisB

a-girl - I never wrote that anyone is ready to go back to the classroom - but teachers and students have been ready to go back to lessons -

amerigirl

Davis, sorry , I misunderstood your statement about going back.

Bud

Nice doorstop for students in western Loudoun that do not have access to broadband.

amerigirl

Do you know what they are going to do for them? I haven't heard anything.

Fiscalconservative

It;s great that we're helping the students but who is paying for all this? We are all felling the financial pain what about a property tax reduction for those of us that don't have kids?

LoudounBornandRaised92

My assumption is it comes out of the fund set aside (a slush fund if you will) with each budget in case they need to do emergency spending.

Duncan Idaho

We bought our daughter's Chromebook at Costco for $250. And it's a lot better than the school's.

ace10

I was waiting for some food a while back, and overheard a group of LVHS students talking about how they were able to break the devices in such a way that avoided scrutiny. Sounded like a sport to them.

vaminuteman

There are always going to be students who are not invested in learning. Most are, however.

More Cowbell

Don't they need the internet at home? So how does LCPS get around the kids that can't get online with their new Chromebook?

LoudounBornandRaised92

They have purchased over 1000 (I think it's like 1200) mobile hotspots for families who don't have access to internet.

AreYouKidding

In areas where Comcast provides service low-income families have a couple of options. Comcast has a $9.95 plan available for low-income families and are now offering 2 months of free service. Comcast has also removed the requirement to be a Comcast customer to access their WiFi network. Most Comcast residential gateways also operate as public access points for the Comcast WiFi network, so if a neighbor has Comcast service and the signal is strong enough they may connect to Comcast WiFi network for internet access.

If you are low income and in an area where Verizon provides service you have less options. Verizon's low-income option involves a monthly $9 bill credit which leaves the cost of internet access still out of reach of many low income families.

Along with the Chromebooks LCPS has purchased WiFi hotspots with LTE service. They are lending these out to those who require them for connectivity.

Unfortunately for many parts of Western Loudoun decent internet access isn't really available or only at great expense. Not much the school system can do about that.

amerigirl

I was told that those people might be getting hot spots. I really don't know for sure.

Loudoun4Trump

That's a lot of cash rolling out the window....if we do distancing learning maybe we will reduce the number of school administrators and teachers....probably will need a larger IT dept. to fix all the broken computers kids wont be able to learn on...I see a spike in private school applications....

AreYouKidding

The roll out of Chromebooks for all 3-12 students was a 3 year roll out. 2 years of that roll out have already occurred. The majority of LCPS students already have Chromebooks. This is just moving the roll out to the remaining students ahead by several months.

amerigirl

How is that cash out the window? they just accelerated their planned three-year dissemination of Chromebooks to all students in grades 3 to 12. I wholly support it move to do it early if the need is there and they were going to spend the money anyway.

jke

$440.00 a Chromebook double what Hp has them listed for.

AreYouKidding

And of course every Chromebook is just as capable and well built as every other Chromebook. Just like every laptop is the same as every other laptop. Every cell phone is the same as every other phone. None of them vary by processor, screen memory, storage, build quality, ability to withstand abuse, warranty length and how warranty claims are handled.

westernloudounguy

In my experience, reading an article about a government purchase or cost (not just these computers, but pretty much anything), and then dividing that cost by whatever number of people or units or devices the article cited, makes for a good headline or soundbite or web post. But in reality, if you actually go look at whatever it is that was purchased, there's almost always a reason the costs are what they are- either it's a higher quality, or it includes additional services or parts or there was a premium in order to get it when they needed it or in the quantity needed, etc. In the case of these chromebooks, I'd be willing to bet that they cost what they did because they came with an extended warranty or extra chargers or there were configuration charges or they came preloaded with some software and the license fee is in the price, etc. Oh, and from other articles I read, I believe they actually bought 15,000 chromebooks for around $5,000,000. That's another problem with making assumptions off of incomplete data. This article talks about them distributing 11,400 Chromebooks. But there are 3,600 more that, I assume, they just haven't received yet. So that makes the per unit cost no more than $334- which is about 25% less then you calculated- inclusive of any additional services, warranties, software, hardware, etc.

jke

You are willing to bet, I ain't. Maybe they should list the costs involved for both of us.

amerigirl

jke they should list it so people don't just come up with figures like $440.00 a Chromebook on their own.

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