Schools Handed Out Millions of Digital Devices Under COVID-19. Now, Thousands Are Missing
July 27, 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic hit and public education moved online, school districts across the country rushed to give millions of students laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks, many of which had just been purchased. Now, some of those districts are scrambling to account for all those devices—a task made more urgent by the uncertainty over when students will be able to return to school buildings full-time.
Among the challenges districts are facing: locating and recovering missing devices; making sure clear policies and procedures are in place for distribution, collection, and liability; filing insurance claims for those that can’t be found; and budgeting time and staff to inspect, repair, and sanitize the computers and tablets that do come back before they’re redistributed.
“Buying devices is the easy part,” said William Fritz, the technology director for Sycamore Community Schools outside Cincinnati, Ohio. “The hard part is the day-to-day management of the devices and keeping track of where they are.”