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.