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School Board approves additional Chromebooks

FRONT ROYAL — The Warren County School Board has approved the purchase of enough Chromebooks so that every student in middle school and high school will have one during the next school year.

The move is part of a broader push within Warren County Public Schools to provide computers to every student in the district. The district has periodically purchased more and more Chromebooks as costs allow.

In an email, Greg Drescher, superintendent for the district, stated that the district initially thought that it would take two more years than it has to purchase enough devices to cover every student in middle school and high school.

But although the cost for the computers is considerable — the nearly 2,000 computers the School Board agreed on Wednesday to purchase will cost the district about $390,000 — the district was able to use a broad array of funds to purchase the devices, easing the burden on the district.

“We planned for it to take two more years,” Drescher stated. “With construction funds, carry over [sic] dollars from the Board of Supervisors and reallocating some of our technology funds, we were able to do it earlier.”

During a School Board meeting Wednesday, Timothy Grant, director of technology for the district, said that seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students have already received Chromebooks as part of an earlier purchase of the devices.

Eventually, Drescher stated, the district would like to expand the Chromebook program to cover elementary school students.

“We will be working on this as funds allow,” Drescher stated.

During Wednesday’s meeting, Grant said he is working toward a possible plan that would allow students to borrow internet hotspots if they don’t have internet access.

According to a survey conducted by the district, Grant said, around 80 percent of students’ homes have access to the internet.

But whether or how such a plan will occur is uncertain, particularly because areas that don’t have broadband internet access disproportionately lack access to cellular data coverage.

“We’re still working out the details,” Grant said.

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