Wake County Schools

About 75% of requested laptops issued to students in Wake County

Posted September 8, 2020 7:14 a.m. EDT
Updated September 9, 2020 11:48 a.m. EDT

— Classes in the Wake County Public School System started online more than three weeks ago, but thousands of students have still not received their requested devices.

Some 12,400 students are still waiting for a Chromebook laptop, while 7,800 are waiting on a Wi-Fi hotspot, the district said Wednesday.

The district distributed about 3,600 Chromebooks and 1,200 hotspots on Tuesday at Apex High School, Enloe High School and Knightdale High School.

“I got in and out in just under an hour," said Erin Yost, whose son is in kindergarten.

“I was actually quite impressed with how well the line was moving,” said Clay Lohnes, who has twins in first grade and another child in kindergarten. “We’re just making the best of the situation, and we also understand the county is doing the best they can, too."

A planned distribution last Friday was canceled after an equipment failure at the distrit's Chromebook supplier caused a delay.

School officials said they have purchased all 50,000 Chromebooks needed to meet demand, but they’re being delivered in smaller batches for storage and security reasons.

A shipment of about 5,000 devices arrived over the weekend, and officials said they expect more to arrive by Friday, when the next distribution round will be held at Apex High, Enloe High and Knightdale High, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"I wish they had the devices sooner, because I think that would have been better for them to get used to the device and to be able to do that," Lohnes said. "We've been doing what we can. My twins are pulling double duty with the computer that we have at home."

Currently, in order for teachers to take attendance, they have to have a two-way communication with students. That could look different for each student – a virtual classroom meeting, an email, a phone call or turning in a daily assignment – depending on their technology access.

Superintendent Cathy Moore said that "not every student who requested a device is without a device." Because of this, the school board doesn't have numbers on how many students actually lack laptops.

Anyone who requested a device before Aug. 31 can pick it up Friday, officials said. More pick-up times will be scheduled next week, officials said, but the dates haven't been decided.

“We’re excited to start the year with virtual learning and just hoping for the best," Lohnes said.

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