Wake County Schools

Wake parents experiencing long waits for device pickup from school district

Posted September 2, 2020 12:51 p.m. EDT
Updated September 2, 2020 10:36 p.m. EDT

Two weeks into the school year, many Wake County School System students were still without Chromebooks for virtual learning.

Some parents waiting to pick up devices at Apex High on Wednesday blamed the delay on the district's decision to eliminate pick-up locations. The school district closed two of its five distribution sites.

"This is a move to allow us to restock and consolidate the remainder of our devices to be distributed," said Edward McFarland, the chief academic advancement officer for the school district.

On Wednesday, a line was wrapped around the building as parents waited to pick up essential devices.

"[I] just got the Chromebook. We're happy to have it, the process was quick," said parent Michael Rodolico.

For others, the process was not so quick.

"We got the hotspot email Friday, and I went over Monday afternoon, probably around 3 p.m., and I saw the line and left," said another parent.

She tried picking up the device again Wednesday.

"I thought I would maybe be the first one there and it was 10 times worse," she said.

School officials said they’ve received 50,000 requests for Chromebooks, and 16,000 requests for hotspots for internet access.

As of Wednesday, the school district has distributed 31,000 Chromebooks and 6,000 hotspots with the help of volunteers.

McFarland said he understood the delay has had on some students waiting to take part in virtual learning.

"If students are still waiting for a device, our teachers are being flexible to not leave any student behind because of limited technology access," said McFarland. "Schools are also providing printed materials to support learning at home."

The three remaining distribution sites are Apex High, Enloe High School, and Knightdale High School.

A spokesperson for the school district said the average wait time on Wednesday at the Apex pick-up location was 30 minutes and Enloe was about 10 minutes.

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