PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The push to get devices to students in Pittsburgh Public Schools is in full swing before the start of the school year.
Pittsburgh Public Schools will begin the first nine weeks of the year fully online, and the district has pledged to be a one-to-one device district by the start.
When schools closed in March, the district only had a fraction of the devices needed to distribute to its 23,000 students. With a little over three weeks to go before the start of school on Aug. 31, the demand for laptops, Chromebooks and iPads is at an all-time high, causing a backlog.
“Our techs rose to the challenge and they pulled in thousands of devices, reimaged them and got them back out,” said Dr. Ted Dwyer, the chief accountability officer for Pittsburgh Public Schools.
Last year’s technology is now outdated and devices need to be returned so the district’s new learning technology can be installed.
The district ordered over 26,000 devices for students and teachers and only 7,000 have arrived so far.
“If it doesn’t arrive, we’re going to have to move on and make sure that our students get their education and that’s what’s most important,” Dr. Dwyer said.
The distinct had to pivot because of the technology backlog. With the news that 7,000 Chromebooks won’t make it on time, they had to order Windows devices to replace them.
Apple iPads will be distributed to pre-K and kindergarten students, and Dell devices will be distributed to 6th-12th graders.
The district says between Comcast, Neighborhood Allies and the Pittsburgh Housing Authority, they’re helping every family with internet access. Now it’s just the last big push to get devices to students on time.
“And if we get to that point and we don’t have it,” Dr. Dwyers said, “we absolutely have to get them a device. We can’t have kids out there not able to be educated.”
The district is prioritizing by grade. Beginning on Thursday, seniors with old devices can begin returning them to be reconfigured.
The district says it’s a monumental effort getting devices to every student, but anyone who does have their own device is also encouraged to use it until all of the technology arrives.