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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

GCS distributes new devices to schools before students return to the classroom

By Yasmine Regester, Peacemaker Staff Writer / February 11, 2021

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Guilford County Schools delivered more than 2,000 electronic devices to schools on February 5. The district coordinated device distributions at Dudley High School and Ferndale Middle School. Those distributions were part of the more than 79,000 devices the district ordered last fall.

Dudley High School received more than 1,600 devices and Ferndale Middle received nearly 400 devices on Friday.

In August 2020, the district ordered more than 79,000 new devices, enough for every student, teacher and instructional support staff member. However, due to world-wide production and shipping delays, the district was informed that devices would not be delivered for several weeks. Even with that large purchase, GCS still needed to raise dollars to order an additional 3,900 laptops to become a one-to-one district.

In December 2020, Guilford County Schools provided nearly 1,000 laptops to middle school teachers across the district, which was part of the whole device order in early fall.

Schools began device distribution to students on February 8. Although the entire order has not arrived yet, the district is continuing to deliver devices to schools as they arrive.

Middle and high school students will be taking their devices back into the classroom soon, as the Guilford County School Board of Education approved an in-person learning plan at its February 9 board meeting. Part of the discussion included a presentation of the effects of remote learning on academic progress.

The study showed that Kindergarteners test scores remained steady in subjects like math and reading, partly due to the fact they had five weeks of in-person instruction this fall, high school students showed the biggest decline in both math and English.

“Our plan has always been to give parents options and to bring more students back into school buildings while doing so in the safest way possible. While GCS is currently educating 20,000 students in-person, the superintendent knows thousands more still desire and need in-person instruction,” said Whitney Oakley, GCS chief academic officer.

According to the school reopening plan, middle and high schools will use a cohort model, with half of the students attending in-person on Monday and Tuesday, and the other half attending in-person on Thursday and Friday. The remaining days will be remote learning days.

Under the phased approach, sixth graders and ninth graders will return Monday, Feb. 22, or Thursday, Feb. 25, depending on the cohort. Then, seventh, 10th and 12th graders will return the week of March 1. Eighth graders and 11th graders will return the week of March 8.

In addition to getting back to school quickly, board members also expressed concerns about returning to school safely with all COVID-19 guidelines in place. The board also heard from the Guilford County Department of Public Health, which has been working with the public school system to track data on coronavirus trends in the county.


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